Our monthly Global Precious Metals MMI dipped down a point in April from last month, losing 1.2% to end up at 83.
Ultimately, most gold, silver, platinum and palladium price points from the U.S., China, Japan and India dropped off for the month, which led to the sub-index’s overall decline — but there was one price point that decided to blaze its own trail upward.
The U.S. palladium bar price rose 3.4% over the past month, the third straight month of increases on the MetalMiner IndX.
What’s Going on with Palladium?
Well, automotive sector demand for palladium, at least on a spot or short-term basis, would be a hard case to make.
As my colleague, Jeff Yoders, reported earlier this week, U.S. automakers’ sales figures for March came in below market expectations and gave early evidence that America’s long boom cycle for automotive sales may finally be losing steam.
Automakers sold 1.56 million new cars and trucks in March, a 1.6% decline compared with the same month a year ago.
For example, Ford Motor Company took the biggest hit among sales drops, seeing its March numbers fall more than 7% from February’s.
According to a recent Seeking Alpha article, “going into 2017 the market was considering limited supply to be the primary factor supporting palladium prices,” with limited sector growth expected from the U.S. and European markets, and China being the only auto market to be counted on for buoyed sales.
The above has generally held true, while seasonality and investor interest in ETFs seemed to have been playing into palladium’s rise. This could well be the high point for palladium prices this first half of the year.
Other Key Precious Price Drivers
The U.S. gold bullion price ended up around $1,243/ounce. U.S. platinum dropped below $1,000 and settled at $947/ounce. Gold bullion in China dropped only nominally for April.