LONDON: Platinum climbed in Europe yesterday and targeted a 25-1/2-year high level as speculators continued to buy the metal, used mainly in jewellery and to clean car exhaust fumes.
Gold hovered off Monday’s near 18-year high of $478.50 a troy ounce, but spiked to multi-year highs in other currencies. Palladium also followed the rally.
Platinum rose as high as $941 a troy ounce, just below the April 2004 peak of $942 – a breach of which would take it to the highest level since March 1980.
By 1431 GMT, spot platinum was quoted at $938/942 a troy ounce in London, up from $933/936 in New York late on Monday.
Some traders said a break of $942 would create conditions to test the next big level of $1,000.
“This rally is primarily driven by speculative buying, with very little physical buying support at this level,” said Yingxi Yu, analyst with Barclays Capital.
“I wouldn’t rule out another push higher to $950 in the near term, as the metal has been following gold.”
She said platinum had the most constructive fundamentals among all the precious metals, but the current levels were still too high to be justified.
UBS Investment Bank has hiked its average platinum price forecasts by 14% to $911 an ounce in 2006 and by 24% to $929 in 2007.
Platinum was expected to remain in deficit over the next few years and with no cyclical decline expected in commodity prices, the bank saw no reason why prices would fall far from current levels.
“The metal is now close to 2004 highs and investors seem happy to continue to add to long positions,” Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein said in a report.
“Industrial consumers are more reticent and the demand side will be an important focus if prices are to be sustained at these levels.”
Gold edged higher and traded near Monday’s $478.50 an ounce, the highest since January 1988. It briefly crossed $478 in New York. It later fell back to $476.40, a gain of 1.80, in late afternoon trade.
The yellow metal stood firm in other currencies, scaling a new record high in euro terms at 397.20 euros and its firmest in Australian dollars at A$634 since early 2003.
In terms of the British pound, gold surged to £272.98, the highest level in nearly a decade.
Traders said gold was expected to extend gains in the coming days as inflation worries and seasonal consumer demand were seen driving funds to continue buying.
But some traders said record speculative positions and a firm dollar could lead to some profit-taking, lowering prices.
“We will see this (rising) trend continuing in the medium term but for the moment, I think the market is overbought and the hedge funds are heavily long,” a German precious metals trader said.
In other precious metals, spot silver was at $7.80/7.83 versus $7.78/7.81 last quoted in New York. On Monday, it rose to $7.83, the highest since December 2004.
Palladium traded at $206/209 against $202/207 an ounce in New York.