Platinum, Palladium Hold Firm


"Platinum and palladium avoided the turn lower in gold."

Spot platinum and palladium prices have been able to stay in positive territory after a decline in U.S. non-farm payrolls was not as great as feared, though the resulting pressure on gold has limited the upside in the platinum group metals.

At 9:08 a.m. EDT (1308 GMT), spot platinum was up $10 to $1,553/oz., while palladium gained $2 to $524.

August U.S. non-farm payrolls fell by 54,000, though this was less than the 100,000 to 105,000 decline economists were expecting. Furthermore, the figures for the prior two months were revised upward to reflect 123,000 fewer jobs lost than initially reported.

Platinum and palladium avoided the turn lower in gold. "It (the data) was more positive for those metals," said Jim Steel, analyst with HSBC.

While gold tends to rise or fall based on whether investors are seeking a safe haven, platinum and palladium are industrial metals that tend to rise or fall with economic prospects. Their main industrial use is auto catalytic converters, thus take much of their cue from the outlook for car sales.

Still, the platinum group metals have fallen back from their earlier highs on the coattails of the decline in gold after the data, Steel said.

"They are caught between two things right now," he said.

A trader described the data as somewhat mixed for the platinum group metals. The knee-jerk reaction is that, because the economic was stronger than forecast, it was helpful, he said.

"It's a step in the right direction," he said. But, he later added, "it's three straight months of job losses, and we're supposed to be in a recovery."

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