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PRECIOUS-Platinum firms on strike action, gold holds near $1,290/oz
May 20, 2014 / 10:37 AM / 4 years ago

PRECIOUS-Platinum firms on strike action, gold holds near $1,290/oz

* Johnson Matthey sees platinum deficit at 1.218 mln oz

* Gold edges up as dollar rise limits gain

* WGC report shows India, China demand in Q1 dropped

* Coming up: US mortgage market index (Adds second byline, dateline, updates market activities)

By Frank Tang and Jan Harvey

NEW YORK/LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) - Platinum group metals rose on Tuesday as South Africa’s longest and costliest miners’ strike ground on, while gold edged up as gains in the dollar held it near key chart support.

Platinum gained in intraday trade after refiner Johnson Matthey said it believed the deficit in the platinum market will expand to 1.218 million ounces this year, its largest shortfall in a data series going back to 1975.

Spot platinum was up 0.1 percent at $1,464.75 an ounce by 3:51 p.m. EDT (1951 GMT). Earlier, it hit a high of $1,476.30, not far from last week’s peak of $1,483.50, its strongest since early March.

U.S. NYMEX platinum contract for July delivery settled down $1.30 at $1,468.90 an ounce, underperforming spot.

Despite recent strength, platinum is struggling to break higher on the back of the miners’ strike in top platinum producer South Africa, source of around three-quarters of world supply, as the availability of above-ground stocks curbs gains.

“While palladium is in an uptrend, platinum is still stuck in a sideways trading pattern. $1,490 seems to be too much of a challenge at this stage,” Saxo Bank’s head of commodities research Ole Hansen said.

The four-month action against Anglo American Platinum , Impala Platinum and Lonmin, has disrupted 40 percent of platinum output and could cost 1 million ounces of production this year.

The strikes turned violent this month, with four miners killed as more employees tried to report for work, ignoring calls by the union to continue protesting.

Palladium rose 1.2 percent to $821.90 an ounce.

Palladium holdings of exchange-traded funds hit record highs after an 8,000-ounce inflow into Standard Bank’s AfricaPalladium fund on Monday.

Gold, meanwhile, remained near $1,290 an ounce as the dollar index rose 0.1 percent and an industry report showed demand in major consumers China and India fell in the first quarter.

Spot gold edged up 0.2 percent to $1,294.29 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled up 80 cents at $1,294.60 per ounce.

The World Gold Council said on Tuesday consumer gold demand in the world’s biggest buyer China fell 18 percent to 263.2 tonnes, with Chinese demand for gold coins and bars down 55 percent in the first quarter, offset only partially by a 10 percent rise in jewellery offtake.

Indian consumer demand was down by just over a quarter to 190.3 tonnes, although a drop in sales from bullion-backed investment funds kept overall demand steady.

Among other precious metals, spot silver edged up 0.2 percent at $19.36 an ounce. 3:51 PM EST LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT

SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL US Gold JUN 1294.60 0.80 0.1 1286.00 1297.20 122,394 US Silver MAY 19.367 0.045 0.2 19.270 19.420 14 US Plat JUL 1468.90 -1.30 -0.1 1466.50 1479.50 9,720 US Pall JUN 825.85 10.25 1.3 814.00 830.00 5,215 Gold 1294.29 2.69 0.2 1286.30 1296.60 Silver 19.360 0.040 0.2 19.260 19.430 Platinum 1464.75 0.75 0.1 1466.00 1476.30 Palladium 821.90 9.40 1.2 816.00 828.00 TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY

CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG US Gold 143,692 142,391 179,424 13.9 -0.60 US Silver 30,988 54,912 55,355 20.92 0.30 US Platinum 9,812 9,621 12,512 17.02 -0.67 US Palladium 7,503 5,787 5,826 23.3 -0.60

Editing by David Evans, Jason Neely and Tom Brown

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