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PRECIOUS-Palladium rallies to 2011 highs on South Africa tensions
May 14, 2014 / 10:05 AM / 4 years ago

PRECIOUS-Palladium rallies to 2011 highs on South Africa tensions

* Platinum has best day since early January

* Miners gather near Lonmin platinum mine

* Gold buoyed by falling bond yields as market braces for EU rate cut (Updates prices, add comment, details throughout)

By Josephine Mason and Clara Denina

NEW YORK/LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) - Palladium hit 2-1/2 year highs on Wednesday as platinum group metals continued a sensational run higher spurred by continued concerns about supplies from major producer South Africa, while gold rose on expectations of more stimulus measures in Europe.

Bullion gained 1 percent as U.S. government bond yields hit a one-year low after sources told Reuters a European Central Bank rate cut next month is “more or less a done deal.”

Technical buying also buoyed after stops were triggered.

“The PGMs (have been) boosted by long-running South African strike issues and geopolitical tension in Ukraine, while silver and gold have been boosted by the triggering of stops,” said Standard Bank analyst Leon Westgate.

South Africa’s longest and costliest strike ever has taken a violent turn in recent days, with four miners killed as more employees try to report for work at the world’s top platinum producers.

Even as workers tried to return to work, prices rose as dealers braced for a slow restart at some of the world’s mines after the 16-week strike which has halted 40 percent of normal global output.

South Africa is the world’s top platinum producer and second-biggest palladium producer after Russia.

Notching up its best one-day of gains since early January, platinum rose 2.08 percent to trade at $1,479.75 per ounce at 4:42 p.m. EDT (2042 GMT). Earlier in the day, it hit a 2-1/2 month high of $1,483.50.

Palladium surged to $827.50 an ounce, its highest since August 2011. Prices were up 1.5 percent at $825 in late afternoon New York trade.

In gold, spot prices were up 1 percent to $1,305.39 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled up 0.85 percent at $1,305.9 an ounce, for its best one day gain since May 2.

Bonds rallied even as U.S. wholesale prices increased 0.6 percent in April, the most in 1-1/2 years, a sign inflation pressures may be creeping up.

In wider markets, equities slumped and the dollar eased slightly against a basket of currencies, failing to benefit from data showing U.S. producer prices posted their largest increase in 1-1/2 years in April.

Silver, in the spotlight after news the 117-year old London “fix”, used as the global price benchmark, will stop in August, rose to a one-month high of $19.97 an ounce.

Spot prices which were not affected by the news of the end of the fix, were up 1.3 percent at $19.83 an ounce in late trade. (Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; editing by Keiron Henderson, David Evans and Diane Craft)

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