Palladium breaches $1,550/oz as supply fears grow; gold steadies
By Arijit Bose and Eileen Soreng (Reuters) - Palladium broke past $1,550 an ounce for the first time on Tuesday on the back of intensifying supply deficit, while gold steadied after U.S.
By Arijit Bose and Eileen Soreng
(Reuters) - Palladium broke past $1,550 an ounce for the first time on Tuesday on the back of intensifying supply deficit, while gold steadied after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated the central bank's patient stance in further rate hikes.
Spot palladium soared to $1,565.09 per ounce earlier in the day, and was up 0.9 percent at $1,555 by 2:25 p.m. EST (1925 GMT).
"Palladium is up based on the fact that there are 15 mining firms in South Africa, that could go on strike this week," Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
The news of South African mining firms receiving notices of strikes to be held next week aggravated supply concerns in an already tight market, with prices soaring more than 23 percent so far this year.
The world's largest palladium producer, Norilsk Nickel, on Tuesday said tighter emissions regulations in all major markets and flattish primary supply would widen the autocatalyst metal's deficit in 2019.
"There are increased talks that palladium is entering into the bubble territory because of the relentless rally that we have seen," Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen said. "Those who are long are tempted to take profits while we potentially may see a few attempts to sell some shorts in the market."
Elsewhere, spot gold was steady at $1,327.41 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures settled down about 0.1 percent at $1,328.50 per ounce.
While Powell reiterated the rhetoric of "patience" about the future of interest rate hikes at a U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing, stronger than expected consumer confidence data has kept gold pressured, analysts said.
Powell reaffirmed the policy shift made by the Fed last month, telling a Senate Banking Committee hearing that "crosscurrents and conflicting signals" had weakened the case for further rate increases and made an otherwise positive economic outlook less certain.
"People wanted to take something from Powell's statement but there just wasn't anything there that was definitive enough to move gold today," said Bill O'Neill, partner at Logic Advisors, adding, "in the long term his statements are supportive of the market because they indicate no rate hike."
Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing gold and weigh on the dollar.
Silver, meanwhile, fell 0.1 percent to $15.88 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.6 percent to $854, having touched $858, its highest since early November.
(Reporting by Arijit Bose and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.