Platinum Prices Hit Six-Year Low – by ESE ERHERIENE and IRA IOSEBASHVILI (Wall Street Journal – June 15, 2015)

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Gold prices gain on breakdown in Greek talks

Platinum prices fell to a six-year low on Monday on concerns over growing supplies of the precious metal.

Platinum for July delivery, the most actively traded contract, closed down 0.8% at $1,088.60 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since March 18, 2009.

Investors are worried about platinum stockpiles, which are growing as miners in South Africa ramp up output following a five-month strike in 2014. South Africa is the world’s largest producer of the metal, and Barclays estimated platinum production from the country is on track to hit a five-year high in 2016.

At the same time, tougher government regulations in Europe are expected to shrink the share of diesel-powered vehicles and threaten demand for platinum, which is used as an emission filter in diesel cars.

“Weak demand at a time when the South African producers have normalized production…has dragged platinum down,” said Robin Bhar, head of metals research at Société Générale.

William Tankard, research director of precious-metals mining at Thomson Reuters GFMS, said platinum could head toward $1,000 an ounce before the end of the year.

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