Platinum, Palladium to Continue Bull Run


"Pt and Pd prices expected to average $1,650/oz. and $520/oz. in 2011"

Even as French investment bank Natixis predicted that the gold prices would fall in 2011, it is bullish on platinum and palladium.

According to the bank's forecast, platinum and palladium prices are expected to average $1,650/oz. and $520/oz., respectively in 2011. Growing automotive sales in developing economies will underpin demand for the metals, used in auto catalysts to clean exhaust emissions, the bank said.

Meanwhile, Norilsk Nickel, the world's biggest producer of auto catalyst metal palladium, said it expected Russian state stocks of the white metal to be finished next year.

This year will be the last year when any substantial quantity from this stock has any chance to enter the market, it said. Officially, levels of Russian metals stocks are a state secret.

Palladium prices have risen to nine-year highs in recent weeks amid speculation that supply would fail to keep pace with a recovery in demand, particularly from US and Chinese carmakers, this year and next.

The metal hit a peak of $602.50 an ounce last week, its strongest level since mid-2001.

Sales of metal from Russian palladium stockpiles have been a key component in overall supply for years. Metals refiner Johnson Matthey estimated in a report earlier this year that such sales amounted to 960,000 ounces in 2009. Without these sales, the palladium market would have been in a deficit of some 200,000 ounces.

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