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Supply woes push palladium to record high, gold up more than 1%

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Eileen Soreng
·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: The Sicpa Oasis validator system is pictured over one kilogram bar of gold at Swiss refiner Metalor in Marin
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By Eileen Soreng

(Reuters) - Auto-catalyst metal palladium hit a record high on Wednesday fuelled by supply concerns and wider gains in precious metals prices, with gold jumping more than 1%.

Palladium soared to an all-time high of $2,891.20 per ounce and was up 4.1% at $2,874.29 at 12:44 p.m. EDT (1644 GMT).

"We're looking at pretty decent automotive and industrial use for this catalyst," said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities, adding that with a very tight market projected, it would be difficult to source the metal.

Prices of palladium, used in catalytic converters to clean car exhaust fumes, have risen by more than 23% since Russia's Nornickel, the world's largest producer, partly suspended operations at two of its mines on Feb. 24.

There might be technical price corrections but given the robust fundamentals for palladium, a big adjustment to the downside is highly unlikely, Melek said.

Elsewhere, spot gold hit a near two-month high at $1,797.41 per ounce, helped by subdued U.S. Treasury yields and a weaker dollar.

Gold was last up 0.8% at $1,791.14. U.S. gold futures gained 0.9% to $1,792.30.

"Gold's pain over the last couple of months has been the rising Treasury yields and now that has pretty much been alleviated," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

"The current outlook for the global economy is still mixed... You're going to see a much more cautious approach in the next quarter and that's probably going to see gold start to see some safe haven flows," Moya added.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields languished below 1.6%, reducing the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing gold, while the dollar ticked lower.

Market participants await a European Central Bank meeting on Thursday and a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting next week.

Silver rose 2.2% to $26.43 per ounce, while platinum was 2.1% higher at $1,212.50.

(Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Arpan Varghese; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)