Palladium Tops $2,000 in Record-Breaking Rally Before Gains Ebb – by Elena Mazneva and Justina Vasquez (Bloomberg News – December 17, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — Palladium rose above $2,000 an ounce for the first time, extending an annual advance powered by a sustained global deficit, before slipping as profit-taking emerged.

Palladium has gained as much as 59% this year, with market watchers saying the shortfall will be hard to fill. That’s great news for producers of the metal, used mainly in autocatalysts, which have seen their shares surge.

No. 1 miner MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC has climbed 50% in 2019. The effect has been even more dramatic for South African platinum producers, which dig up palladium alongside their primary metal. The FTSE/JSE Africa Platinum Mining Index has tripled this year, the biggest-ever annual gain.

On the other hand, higher prices don’t affect carmakers too much, because palladium is only a small part of the overall production cost, said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S.

“The mining companies and speculators both reap the reward from the continued surge,” he said. Spot palladium climbed as much as 1.1% to $2,000.35 an ounce, before dropping to $1,947.07 at 11:58 a.m. in New York.

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