Platinum scales 6-year peak, gold gains as dollar stumbles

Platinum raced to a six-year peak on Wednesday on hopes of a fillip to demand for the auto-catalyst as the economy recovers, with gold and other precious metals also boosted by a softer dollar and bets for fresh U.S. stimulus.

Platinum rose 4.4% to $1,226.58 per ounce by 10:34 a.m. EST (1534 GMT), having earlier hit its highest since February 2015 at $1,250.00.

“We are expecting demand for autos to increase globally as we move into a recovery phase,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities, adding higher standards for pollution control will require more of the metal.

A report from specialist materials company Johnson Matthey

showed a deficit of platinum grew last year.

Palladium also saw a large supply shortfall, but this was less extreme than in 2019.

Palladium rose as much as 3.1%, and was last up 2.3% at $2,372.86 per ounce.

Platinum is likely to continue to play “catch-up” with palladium, Melek added.

Both metals are used by automakers in catalytic converters to clean car exhaust fumes.

Spot gold meanwhile, rose 0.2% to $1,840.21, while U.S. gold futures gained 0.1% to $1,838.50.

Spot silver fell 0.7% to $27.02.

Making metals less expensive for those holding other currencies, the dollar fell on data pointing to benign U.S. inflation in January.

The market is interpreting the data as increased chances of more stimulus to align with the Federal Reserve targeting higher inflation, said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

The U.S. Congress is expected to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. Investors often buy gold to hedge risks of a spurt in inflation triggered by massive stimulus.

Markets now await further policy cues from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech before a virtual Economic Club of New York event at 1900 GMT.

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