Platinum soared to its 14th consecutive record high on Tuesday as investors continue to purchase the precious metal on persisting stockpile concerns from South Africa, the metals top producer.
The precious metal, which is used in used for jewelry and auto-catalysts, has surged to new heights for the last 14 trading sessions and is currently trading 40 percent higher than at the start of 2007 on worries about a widening market deficit.
Spot platinum hit a high of $2,160 an ounce before trimming gains to $2,150/2,160 against $2,105/2,115 late in London on Monday.
Mines across South Africa, which accounts for 80 percent of global platinum supply, have been hit by a lack of power after state utility Eskom asked the mining sector to cut power use to 90 percent of normal needs to ease shortages.
The world's No. 1 platinum miner Anglo Platinum has said power problems would cut output by 120,000 ounces in 2008. It also announced yesterday is it closing one of its smelters for maintenance works.
The closure could take up to six weeks. Meanwhile, the world's No. 2 producer, Impala Platinum, predicted very tight market conditions.
Analysts say the global platinum deficit could widen to 500,000 to 600,000 ounces by the end of the year, compared with around 265,000 ounces in 2007. The market had a surplus of 65,000 ounces in 2006, following seven successive years of deficits.
Gold rose to a two-week high of $929.90 an ounce on a weaker dollar and was last quoted at $929.30/930.00, against Monday's $903.00/903.80 and a recent record high of $936.50.