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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Sales of Platinum Until 2000

Russian bureaucracy will prevent a resumption of platinum exports before the end of January 2000, an official at Rosbank, which controls Russia's largest platinum group metals producer Norilsk Nickel, said Friday.

"Sales may start at the end of January or the beginning of February at the earliest, and that is an optimistic scenario, unless a miracle happens," Rosbank vice-chairman Yevgeny Ivanov said.

Worries about Russian platinum group metals supplies sent the London price Thursday to $454.00 an ounce, its highest level since August 1997, while the price of palladium, a metal related to platinum, reached an all time high of $419 an ounce.

Russia's parliament passed a law in 1998 which gave the right to export PGMs to "specially designated state bodies," without indicating who would designate them.

This effectively stopped Russian exports of PGMs except palladium in 1999.

Exports had previously been executed through Almazjuvelirexport, the country's sole precious metals and gems exporting agency.

Only palladium exports have continued this year, as they are regulated by a presidential decree issued prior to the adoption of the law.

The budget committee of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, agreed to pass an amendment in September, indicating that the government should have the right to nominate the exporting body, but President Boris Yeltsin disagreed.

Yeltsin has sent a note to the budget committee saying that the law on precious metals gives him the right to supervise precious metals exports, after which the government took a break in search of a compromise.

A source at the committee said Friday that the compromise appeared to have been found and the committee would propose that the Duma should include the first reading of the amendment in the agenda Tuesday.