Palladium set for best week in 2 years as Russia supply concerns mount

By Arpan Varghese

(Reuters) – Palladium extended gains on Friday, breaking above $2,800 an ounce mark en route to its best week in two years as concerns grew about supply shortfalls from Russia, while the war in Ukraine kept safe-haven gold on firm ground.

Spot palladium rose 0.8% to $2,797.53 as of 1025 GMT, after going as high as $2,835.48, a peak since July 2021. It was headed for an 18% rise this week, which would be its best since late March 2020.

Russia accounts for 40% of global production of the auto-catalyst metal used in catalytic converters to curb vehicle emissions.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine somehow contributes to (the palladium supercycle) and reinforces it. But it’s something that started with the fizzling out of the COVID lockdowns … and increase in demand for raw materials,” ActivTrades senior analyst Ricardo Evangelista said.

Dimming appetite for riskier assets, Western nations mounted sanctions on Russia as its invasion of Ukraine continued.[MKTS/GLOB]

There’s a “buyer strike on virtually everything coming out of Russia. Palladium is no exception,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.

The resultant demand for safe-havens helped gold, which is up about 3% for the week thus far, helping it mostly ignore the dollar’s advance throughout the crisis, and an imminent interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve. [USD/][US/]

“While the Fed will have to tread ‘carefully’ given the situation in Ukraine, this confirmation of interest rate hikes is putting a ceiling on gold, with its lack of yield making it less attractive in a climate of rising interest rates,” said Rupert Rowling, market analyst at Kinesis Money, in a note.

Spot gold gained 0.5% to $1,944.20 per ounce, and U.S. gold futures jumped 0.6% to $1,947.40.

Spot silver added 0.1% to $25.18 per ounce, and was set for a fifth consecutive weekly gain. Platinum fell 0.2% to $1,078.28.

(Reporting by Arpan Varghese and Seher Dareen in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)