‘Excessive Concern’ Over Russia and Ukraine Helping Palladium Reach New Heights

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Palladium futures prices opened the week at nearly $895 per ounce—their highest level since Feb. 22, 2001—on trader fears that exports from Russia could be limited by sanctions, experts told CNBC. And despite analysts’ observations that those worries are not entirely rational, many are still predicting that the metal, used in catalytic converters, will rise to $1,000.

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Palladium buyers have demonstrated “excessive concern” that Russia, the world’s largest producer of the metal, may get slapped by Western sanctions, and that has been the primary driver of its rise, said Rohit Savant, director of research for CPM Group.

“A lot of this rally was based on an expectation that you would see restrictions on Russian exports,” Savant told CNBC. “There’s no real reason for anyone to believe this.”

On Wednesday, August 20, the day’s biggest mover was the price of Japanese palladium bar, which saw a 1.4 percent decline to JPY 2,900 ($28.17) per gram. US palladium bar prices saw a 1.1 percent decline to $879.00 per ounce. The price of Chinese palladium bar fell 0.5 percent to CNY 193.00 ($31.42) per gram.

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Japanese platinum bar ended the day at JPY 4,773 ($46.37) per gram, after the 0.7 percent drop on Wednesday. Chinese platinum bar prices weakened by 0.7 percent, settling at CNY 303.00 ($49.32) per gram. This marked the fifth day in a row of declining prices and the drop-off has accelerated since Thursday, August 14. US platinum bar closed 0.3 percent lower at $1,434 per ounce.

Japanese gold bullion prices inched up 0.4 percent to JPY 4,298 ($41.75) per gram. At CNY 256.75 ($41.80) per gram, Chinese gold bullion fell 0.2 percent yesterday. The price of US gold bullion declined 0.2 percent to $1,295 per ounce. The price of Indian gold bullion flattened at INR 28,329 ($466.32) following two-days of declines.

US silver finished the day down 0.9 percent to $19.41 per ounce. The price of Indian silver fell 0.9 percent to INR 42,350 ($697.12) per kilogram. At CNY 4,175 ($679.63) per kilogram, Chinese silver fell 0.7 percent yesterday. The price of Japanese silver held steady at JPY 636.00 ($6.18) per 10 grams.

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