Palladium scaled a record peak to within striking distance of the $US1,500 level overnight fuelled by a sharp supply deficit, while gold climbed 1 per cent to hit a 10-month high on a weaker US dollar and global growth jitters.
Spot palladium was 1.9 per cent higher at $US1,484 per ounce, having earlier soared to an all-time high of $US1,491.
A sustained deficit in supply was likely to widen this year as stricter emissions standards increase demand for catalytic converters, Britain-based autocatalyst manufacturer Johnson Matthey said last week.
Adding to an already strained supply scenario for palladium was the likelihood of an improvement in demand from the car sector, given the expectations of a US-China trade deal materialising, said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities in Toronto.
‘If we were already high and tight when the demand environment didn’t look all that promising, we are certainly going to get tighter when demand improves,’ he said.
A new round of trade talks between the US and China was scheduled for overnight.
While both platinum and palladium are primarily used by automakers in catalytic converters, platinum is more heavily used in diesel vehicles, which have fallen out of favour since Volkswagen’s emissions-rigging scandal broke in 2015.
Unlike platinum, palladium has benefited from the switch away from diesel engines and expectations for growth in hybrid electric vehicles, which tend to be partly petrol-powered.
This has helped cushion the metal from falling car sales globally.
However, analysts said palladium has risen too fast too soon and was bound for a correction.
‘Palladium is a bubble and is moving much above what fundamentals suggest,’ said Gianclaudio Torlizzi, managing director at consultancy T-Commodity in Milan.
Meanwhile, the US dollar backed away from a two-month high hit last week on increasing optimism for a breakthrough in the trade talks, bolstering appeal for gold.
Spot gold gained 1 per cent to $US1,339.50 per ounce, having earlier touched its highest since April 20 at $US1,341.78.
US gold futures settled up 1.7 per cent at $US1,344.8.
‘We are getting more evidence of slowing (global) growth,’ said SP Angel analyst Sergey Raevskiy.
‘There were some dovish comments from Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank.’
Dovish signals from Japan’s central bank and the ECB compounded worries over a global slowdown and followed weak data from the United States and China.
Also, investors will scan the minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting on Wednesday for more guidance on interest rate increases this year.
Higher rates tend to weigh on non-yielding gold.
Among other precious metals, platinum gained 1.8 per cent to $US816 per ounce, while silver rose 1.2 per cent to $US15.99.