Platinum hits 17-month high on demand

Platinum broke the mold surging to a fresh 17-month high, helped by the launch of a new US-based exchange trade fund backed by the metal.

Platinum for immediate delivery traded yesterday little changed at $1,646.50 an ounce. Earlier the metal rose as much as 0.7 per cent to $1,657.38 an ounce, the highest price since August 1, 2008, on speculation demand may outpace supply as investment sales increase. Futures in New York gained as much as 0.9 per cent to $1,654 an ounce.

Interest in new exchange-traded funds, with holdings of about 845,000 ounces, is moving the metal further away from the industrial and jewellery markets, according to Standard Bank. The metal has risen 4.2 per cent since January 8, when ETFS Platinum Trust and ETFS Palladium Trust started trading on the NYSE Arca stock exchange.

"The platinum market appears tighter than it has been for a long time," Standard Bank's analyst Walter de Wet said. "While prices can't rise forever and there will be a supply response, it is likely to be slower than the current rise in investment demand."

One ounce of platinum now costs about $513 more than an ounce of gold, a spread not seen since Lehman Brothers' filed for bankruptcy in September 2008.

 

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