By Barani Krishnan
Investing.com - Palladium returned to the top of the precious metals heap Tuesday, with the spot price of the auto-catalyst metal hitting record highs on renewed fears of a supply squeeze. Investors in gold, meanwhile, continued to chip away at the yellow metal’s gains.
Spot palladium was up $53.36, or 2.5%, at $2,185.63 per ounce at 3:00 PM ET (20:00 GMT). It earlier hit an all-time high of $2,193.
Palladium futures settled up $44.20, or 2.2%, at $2,123.30, after touching a record high of $2,126.55 earlier.
Palladium, the commodities star of 2019 with a 55% gain, is once again leading the pack, with a return of nearly 11% year to date.
An ingredient for cleaner emissions and better performance from gasoline-powered engines, palladium has been boosted again in the past two weeks by a supply squeeze in major producing countries South Africa and Russia.
“Palladium is the more interesting story again in precious metals while gold tries to find better support in the $1,500 area,” said George Gero, precious metals analyst at RBC Wealth Management in New York.
Gold futures for February delivery on New York’s COMEX settled down $6, or 0.4%, at $1,544.60 per ounce.
Spot gold, which tracks live trades in bullion, was down $1.61, or 0.1%, at $1,546.44 by 3:18 PM ET (20:18 GMT).
Gold started 2020 strongly, hitting near-seven-year highs above $1,600 an ounce on heightening tensions in the Middle East, before a stand-down in the U.S.-Iran conflict suddenly deprived the safe haven of its risk premium.