Geopolitical instability can often give a short term boost to the precious metals complex, as risk-averse investors in the hot spots seek safety of hard assets until a crisis passes. The current chaos engulfing Egypt and heightening tensions across North Africa and the Middle East certainly fit the bill for a classic flight to security, and last week's sudden U-turn in the gold market was almost certainly helped along by the unrest.
The technical picture for the precious metals has firmed in concert with the turbulent fundamental backdrop, and perhaps the most noteworthy observation in the sector is the relative strength in Platinum futures. Platinum gave up very little ground throughout the recent sell-off in both gold and silver futures, and quickly recovered what it did lose to close out last week near contract highs above $1,800 per ounce. This price is nearly $450 per ounce above the price of gold, a premium not seen since the platinum skyrocket of early 2008, and reflects a possible intrinsic strength in the market that may support it even without the bullish fundamentals of the broader precious metals complex.
Currently, the intermediate term technical formation supporting the price of platinum is a mature and well-developed Ascending Triangle chart pattern, show here on the hourly time-interval. The market has made repeated retests of the upper edge of the Ascending Triangle, and is currently trading near the apex where the support and resistance lines will intersect.
The overall strength of the market and continued buying action seen at gradually higher highs after each subsequent retest of the upper resistance help encourage the prospects for this pattern to realize a topside breakout in the near future. A breach of $1,820 per ounce would mark a decisive breach of the resistance, and likely project a price rally to a higher level- perhaps ultimately challenging the highs of 2008 well above $2,000 per ounce.
The downside risk is certainly still present, however. Should the slide in gold and silver resume with any great momentum, it is still likely to affect platinum to some degree in the short term. A break below support of the Ascending Triangle below $1,785 could negate the bullishness of this pattern and set in motion a slide back to lower prices,
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