Platinum’s premium to gold widens to 17-month high on Zimbabwe

Platinum rose for a second straight day, widening its premium to gold to a 17-month high, on concern supply may fall after Zimbabwe seized land from the country’s top miner of the metal. Gold slid.

Zimbabwe, the third-biggest platinum producer and fifth-largest palladium miner in 2011, repossessed about 69,000 acres of land from Zimplats Holdings Ltd. to offer to new investors, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said yesterday. One ounce of platinum bought as much as 1.0515 ounces of gold in London today, the most since August 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“We see platinum outperforming gold this year on optimism surrounding the global economic recovery and supply disruptions,” Scott Gardner, who helps manage $400 million at Verdmont Capital SA in Panama City, said in a telephone interview.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for delivery in April climbed 0.6 percent to $1,728.20 an ounce at 9:55 a.m. Through yesterday, the metal gained 11% this year, mainly as Anglo American Platinum Ltd., the biggest producer, said last month it plans to cut output.

Palladium futures for March delivery fell 0.4% to $768.40 an ounce, after reaching $777.60, the highest since Sept. 6, 2011. It is mined alongside platinum and both are used mainly in car pollution control devices. China’s passenger-vehicle sales surged 49% to a monthly record in January, the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Feb. 7.

Futures trading volume was 31% higher than the average in the past 100 days for this time of day.

Gold futures for April delivery dropped 0.1% to $1,648 an ounce on the Comex in New York.

Silver futures for March delivery climbed less than 0.1% to $31.025 an ounce in New York.

Bloomberg News

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