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BENGALURU: Palladium is more valuable than gold for the first time since 2002, with prices soaring by around 50 per cent in less than four months to record levels - just as gold failed to capitalise on some seemingly bullish scenarios.

A sustained supply deficit coupled with robust demand and rising interest from speculators have pushed prices of palladium — used mainly in emissions-reducing catalysts for vehicles — from around $832 an ounce in mid-August to a high of $1,263.56 per ounce on Wednesday.

Palladium was trading at a premium of more than $25 an ounce to gold on Wednesday, in striking contrast to about two years ago when bullion was twice as expensive.

Gold is meanwhile stuck in the doldrums around $1,235, having largely lost out to the dollar this year as a US-China trade row escalated against a backdrop of rising interest rates.

Expectations that investors might turn to gold as a safe haven asset at a time of rising economic uncertainty and protectionism have been dented.

“It (parity with gold) is fundamentally justified. The market has been in sustained deficit and the effects of that are being borne out,” said Marcus Garvey, analyst at ICBC Standard bank.

Palladium’s gains this year have overshadowed platinum as well, having overtaken its better-known sister metal last year.

Both are primarily consumed by automakers for catalytic converter manufacturing, but platinum is more heavily used in the diesel vehicles that have fallen out of favour since the Volkswagen emissions-rigging scandal broke in 2015.

Supplies from major producers inclu­ding Russia and South Africa are also not growing, analysts said.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018

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