Platinum surged over $2,100 an ounce for the first time, gaining more than 20 percent since late January after South Africa, the largest producing nation, continues to be hard hit by power cuts that forced mines to shut down operations. Gold remained steady.
Platinum for immediate delivery climbed to a record $2,119 an ounce in London before easing back to $2,105, up 0.3 per cent since Friday's close. The precious metal, which is used in used for jewelry and auto-catalysts, has jumped 22 percent this month, 38 percent so far in 2008 and nearly 75 percent in the past 12 months.
The price boost is due to supply problems in South Africa, which supplies 80 percent of global platinum. The metal rose above $1,000 for the first time in November 2005 and soared above $2,000 on Feb. 13.
Floor trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange is closed for President's Day. In electronic trading, U.S. platinum futures soared to a record high of $2,124 an ounce before falling to $2,106.30, which was still $42.60 higher from its close on Friday.
Severe power shortages caused by the country's national power company Eskom Holdings Ltd., have forced many major mining companies to lower production, boosting platinum and gold futures. Most mines shut down operations for five days last month after Eskom said it couldn't guarantee power supplies.
Hard hit by the crisis, the world's biggest platinum producer Anglo Platinum forecast output at 2.4 million ounces in 2008 from 2.47 million ounces last year. Its second-ranked rival Impala Platinum estimated output at below the 2 million ounces it produced last year.
In other precious metals, Gold consolidated above $900, ending the day unchanged at $903.00 a troy ounce. U.S. April gold futures gained $1 an ounce to $907.10.
Palladium jumped to a six-year high of $466/470 an ounce, up from $444/449 in New York. Silver fell to $16.99/17.04 from $17.11/17.16.
Copper rose 3 per cent to $7,962.5 a ton, which have shrunk to their lowest level since mid-October.