Platinum futures hit a historic high for the sixth consecutive day, while gold also posted strong gains as continued concerns over supply shortages from South Africa boosted investors appeal for the precious metals.

Platinum for April delivery soared $32.40 at $1,851.40 an ounce. Earlier, the contract hit an intraday high of $1,852 an ounce.

Severe power shortages in South Africa, the world's second-largest gold producer and the biggest platinum producer, are hindering mining production for the two precious metals.

South Africa's global mining company, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. said Thursday that the power shortage is estimated to reduce production of gold by approximately 400,000 ounces in 2008, assuming that a sustainable 90 percent power supply is achieved for the remainder of the year.

Analysts said that despite the move of some investors to take profits from record high prices late today, platinum was poised to set new peaks in the coming months.


Gold for April delivery gained $5 to settle at $910 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier hitting a high of $915.20. Gold plunged $19.10 on Tuesday to its lowest level in two weeks.

The possibility of a wider or more prolonged loss of production (in South Africa) is adding to gold's turnaround, Jon Nadler, analyst with Kitco Bullion Dealers Montreal, said in a note. Ample above-ground stocks of the metal appear not to be persuasive to speculators at this time.

South African mines produce four-fifths of the world's platinum made slow progress in bringing back production after the state power firm allowed them only limited increases to their electricity consumption.

Spot platinum rose to a high of $1,850, before falling to $1,833/1,838 in late afternoon trade, against $1,810/1,815 in New York late yesterday.

Also on Nymex, March silver surged 22.50 cents at $16.775 an ounce and March palladium rose $5 at $428.45 an ounce. March copper surged 14.50 cents, or more than 4%, at $3.4540 a pound.