Palladium has started 2017 with a bang. The metal has climbed more than 8 per cent in the first three trading days, taking it to $735 an ounce, thanks to strong US and Chinese manufacturing data as well as a buoyant set of sales figures from General Motors.
Unlike other precious metals, palladium is sensitive to changes in industrial demand because one of its most common uses is to reduce fumes from petrol-powered vehicles. This sets it apart from gold and silver, which are more heavily influenced by changes in monetary policy and broader risk appetite.
Palladium rose almost 20 per cent last year, outperforming gold and sister metal platinum, which gained just 1 per cent. Platinum is used in catalytic converters but in the smaller diesel market — and it has also rallied this week, helped by optimism about global economic growth.
Palladium’s powerful advance was checked in December when a big investor liquidated its holding in a London-listed exchange traded fund called Source Physical Palladium. The sale of more than 100,000 ounces pushed the price down from $770 an ounce to almost $650 before its recovery.
“That wave of investor selling has come to an end,” said Matthew Turner, analyst at Macquarie.
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