Platinum Advances to 16-Month High on Supply Woes; Gold Climbs

Platinum rose to a 16-month high on concern that supplies will fall from South Africa, which accounts for about 73 percent of global output. Gold gained.

Holdings in exchange traded-products backed by platinum expanded to a record 51.5 metric tons yesterday, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The platinum-mining industry is in crisis because of strikes and spiraling operating costs, Anglo American Plc Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Carroll said yesterday. China’s central bank said today growth momentum in the world’s second-biggest economy is “relatively strong.”

“Supply issues and expectations of rising demand, especially from China, are pushing prices higher,” David Meger, the director of metal trading at Vision Financial Markets in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for delivery in April rose 1.7 percent to settle at $1,736.50 an ounce at 1:11 p.m., the biggest jump since Jan. 15. Earlier, prices jumped to $1,744.50, the highest for a most-active contract since Sept. 22, 2011. Volume was about 49 percent higher than the 100-day average for the time of day.

One ounce of platinum bought as many as 1.0337 ounces of gold in London today, the most since August 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Platinum has gained 13 percent this year, compared with a 0.2 percent increase in gold.

Palladium futures for March delivery slipped 0.1 percent to $764.80 an ounce on the Nymex, after reaching $772.90, the highest since Sept. 6, 2011. The metal is typically found alongside platinum and both are used mostly as catalysts in pollution-control devices in cars.

Gold futures for April delivery added 0.3 percent to settle at $1,678.80 an ounce on the Comex in New York, advancing for the third time time in four sessions.

China Imports

Imports of gold into mainland China from Hong Kong rose 94 percent to a record last year. Mainland China imported 834,502 kilograms (834.5 metric tons), including scrap and coins, up from about 431,215 kilograms in 2011, Bloomberg calculations based on data yesterday from the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong government.

The import data, alongside “persistently strong” volumes on the Shanghai Gold Exchange and elevated premiums in the past couple of weeks, indicate a “robust demand story” in China, UBS AG said in a report today.

Silver futures for March delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to $31.877 an ounce on the Comex.

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