Russia Plans Palladium Purchases From Norilsk, Interfax Says

Russia is preparing to buy palladium from local producers, chiefly OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, Interfax cited the head of the state metals depositary as saying.

Palladium is one of the “most dynamic” metals and has held its price gains, said Andrei Yurin, head of Gokhran, as the depositary is known.

Norilsk is the world’s largest producer of palladium, and controls about 17 percent of the market, followed by Vale SA with 13 percent. The price of the metal, used in catalytic converters that reduce harmful carbon emissions from vehicles, has climbed about 14 percent this year.

Norilsk’s press service declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Gokhran wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Gokhran’s palladium stockpiles are probably exhausted and no longer affecting the market for the metal, Anton Berlin, marketing director at Norilsk, said in September.

Norilsk doesn’t see any evidence that Russia is buying palladium, and such a move would be unjustified, Norilsk Chief Executive Office Vladimir Potanin said in an interview on April 24. “Palladium is not a gold and currency reserve,” he said. “It should be sold rather than bought by the state” to remove market uncertainty, he said. Norilsk doesn’t need state purchases as a measure of support, Potanin said.

The palladium market would benefit if Russia chose to sell any remaining stockpiles, Potanin said. “We could help, and not only by buying those volumes, but by marketing the deal. Many would be interested in such a transaction. I myself as a businessman would be interested to buy.”

Palladium pared losses and traded 0.6 percent higher at $816.75 by 1:32 p.m. in London after the Interfax report.

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