Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Palladium Futures Plunge

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Palladium Futures Plunge

Article excerpt

Palladium futures prices fell sharply Monday amid unconfirmed reports a large holder of the metal was looking to shed its stake, which could flood the market at a time supplies from the world's largest producer are set for shipping.

On other commodity markets, wheat and soybean futures prices plunged as rain and warmer temperatures relieved stressed crops and boosted the chances for large harvests. Copper futures rose to their highest levels in a year.

Palladium futures were pressured by reports that New York and Toronto-based Tiger Fund had unsuccessfully sought to sell at least a portion of its large stockpiles of the metal -- estimated at 1.5 million ounces -- to Japanese auto manufacturers and the London- based firm Johnson Matthey Ltd. While that pales in comparison with Russian shipping, which last year totaled about 4.9 million ounces, such a sale could not come at a worse time, said analyst Tim Porter at Refco Inc. "We're getting closer to the date that Russia has promised it will resume shipments of the metal, and that's this week," Porter said. Russia produces about two-thirds of the world's supply of palladium, used in automobiles, computers and jewelry. It is set to begin shipping palladium under contract to Japan and other Western countries, possibly as early as Friday, after being absent from the market since December. Some of the metal already appears to be trickling into manufacturing complexes. The cost of borrowing for the metal has fallen in recent days, an indication that severe supply tightness is easing. Palladium for September delivery fell $7.60 to $180.80 an ounce, while the spot June contract tumbled $12.60 to $210.80. Wheat and soybean futures prices fell sharply on the Chicago Board of Trade as rain and warmer temperatures eased concern an unusually cool spring would lead to smaller crops. …

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