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Platinum Hits Record on Supply Concerns

Here’s an article on the supply issues for platinum and the record
price. Elaine

Platinum Hits Record on Supply Concerns
Monday February 4, 4:25 pm ET
By Stevenson Jacobs, AP Business Writer

Platinum Futures Surge to Record on Supply Concerns, South
African Power Cuts

NEW YORK (AP) – Platinum soared above $1,800 an ounce for the
first time Monday as investors bet that a power shortage in
South Africa will tighten global supply for the metal used in
jewelry and automobiles.

Other precious metals traded mixed, with gold and silver falling
sharply and copper edging higher. Crude oil rebounded on
positive U.S. economic data, while agriculture futures also

Several major South African mining companies have been operating
below capacity since last week amid a national electricity
crisis that has crippled the vital mining industry and sent
commodities prices soaring. Mines received an increase in power
Friday but the ongoing blackouts have fed concerns of a
protracted mining disruption.

“Mine output disruptions continue to fuel the rally” in
platinum, Jon Nadler, senior analyst for Kitco Bullion Dealers
Montreal said in a research note. “With 80 percent or so of
global supplies coming from the very mines affected by
electricity woes, this is not a surprise.”

Platinum for April delivery jumped $27.40 to settle at $1,797.60
an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier
reaching an all-time high of $1,803.80 an ounce. The metal also
hit record-highs on Thursday and Friday, and has increased in
value by nearly 20 percent this year.

South Africa is the world’s top producer of platinum and second
only to China in gold production. Mine equipment problems,
accidents and maintenance have contributed to a production
decline this year, however.

Platinum prices have roughly doubled in four years, with global
inventories growing tighter as automakers try to meet demand,
particularly in Asia and Eastern Europe. Demand for the metal,
used in jewelry and catalytic converters in automotive exhaust
systems, has also surged due to stricter emissions standards.

In other precious metals trading, gold fell to a two-week low on

Gold for April delivery lost $4.10 to settle at $909.40 an ounce
on the Nymex. Gold earlier fell to $896 an ounce, it’s lowest
since Jan. 24.

March silver dipped 9 cents to settle at $16.780 an ounce, while
March copper gained 2.55 cents to settle at $3.2985 a pound.

In energy markets, crude oil rebounded on better-than-expected
U.S. factory orders, reassuring investors that the economy might
avoid recession. The Commerce Department said factory orders
surged by 2.3 percent in December, beating analysts’

Light, sweet crude for March delivery added $1.06 to settle at
$90.02 a barrel on the Nymex. Oil lost more than $2 on Friday
after the Labor Department reported that employers cut payrolls
by 17,000 jobs in December.

Other energy futures also rose. March heating oil futures rose
3.44 cents to settle at $2.4833 a gallon while March gasoline
futures rose 2.83 cents to settle at $2.3117 a gallon.

Meanwhile, agriculture futures rose broadly on the Chicago Board
of Trade. Wheat for March delivery jumped 30 cents to settle at
$9.73 a bushel, while March soybeans soared 38.75 cents to
settle at $13.26 a bushel. March corn climbed 10 cents to $5.105
a bushel.