Palladium Tops $1,900 as South Africa Power Cuts Fuel Supply Woe – by Elena Mazneva and Justina Vasquez (Bloomberg/Yahoo – December 10, 2019)

(Bloomberg) Palladium surged to a record, topping $1,900 an ounce, after South African mining companies halted operations in response to the country’s power cuts. Platinum also rose.

South Africa, the world’s biggest producer of platinum and No. 2 palladium supplier, faced a sixth day of rolling blackouts Tuesday. State utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. is struggling with breakdowns at plants and heavy rains that have soaked coal used as fuel.

“Tight supply that potentially could get even tighter due to production problems in South Africa helps provide the underlying support,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S.

Palladium may “pause at $1,900 given some technical resistance, but overall the price could go higher,” he said. A spokesman for miner Sibanye Gold Ltd. said the company resumed some mining operations Tuesday afternoon while some power shortages remain. Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. said it resumed mining operations after power was restored.

Palladium rose to as high as $1,905 an ounce on Tuesday in the spot market before paring gains to $1,898.96 at 5 p.m. in New York, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. Prices climbed for 13 straight days through Tuesday, the longest stretch since mid-2014.

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