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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Palladium Hits Record High

LONDON -- Concern over Russian deliveries of platinum-group metals and little or no fresh metal on the market spurred platinum and palladium prices to new highs Thursday, dealers said.

High platinum lease rates in the region of 55 percent for one-month metal indicated that market liquidity had almost dried up, while analysts said fears of possible Y2K-related supply disruptions helped drive the price higher.

Palladium, used mainly in electronics and in vehicle catalysts to clean noxious exhaust gasses, fixed at an all-time high of $419 an ounce during the London morning fix.

Platinum fixed at $454 an ounce, its highest level since August 1997.

"Platinum and palladium have gone a bit crazy, especially this morning as the forwards have tightened on the back of higher spot prices, which have eventually all snowballed, one London precious metals dealer said.

PGM dealers said platinum prices were likely to move higher. "We have had high lease rates for a number of weeks now and there is a general view that Russia is not going to be delivering platinum in the short-term and there is a market realization that prices will go higher," a PGM dealer said.

Palladium firmed substantially in recent weeks with some market participants expecting some metal to enter the market when prices hit $400 an ounce.

"Once it got over $400, people believed there would be selling, but it was not there and it jumped from $400 to where we are this morning very quickly," the PGM dealer added.

Russian supplies of platinum and palladium are essential to keep the PGM markets balanced, but analysts expect a sizeable deficit in platinum this year.