Platinum price remains firm after surging +2.4% Tuesday. Currently trading at 1290, the October contract attempts to make a new 3-month high above 1304 as spurred by strength in the precious metal complex as well as jumps in auto sales in both the US and China.
According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, sales of passenger cars rose +90.2% yoy to 858K units in August. Together with 280K sales in commercial vehicles, total car sales in China surged +81.7% yoy to 1.14M units during the month. According to the organization, this is the 6th consecutive month that auto sales in China have reached 1M units. The outstanding result was attributed to tax reduction and subsidies provided by the government and signaled the worst of the economic slowdown has been over.
Released earlier, US light vehicles sales rose +25.45 mom and +4% yoy to 14.1M annualized in August as driven by the government's cash rebate program.
Autocatalyst accounts for around 50% of platinum demand. Therefore, the global auto sector outlook is an important factor determining platinum price.
On the supply side, the hottest topic is strikes in South African mines. According to Impala, 50K oz of platinum production was lost after a 12-day strike at Rustenburg mine and a 5-day stock at the Marula mine. The National Union of Mineworkers began labor action on August 25 as workers and the company could not agree on a pay rise scheme. After negotiations between the 2 parties, workers agreed to return to work on September 8 and accepted the offer 'in principal'.
While the issue seems to be over in Impala, the union remains undecided on Anglo Platinum's offer. The world's largest platinum producer offers a pay rise to 9-10% with minimum pay increasing to 4500 rand in the second year of the agreement.
Gold retreats to 994 after making an 18-month high yesterday. The precious metal has entered overbought territory after rallying for several days and investors prefer booking in gains for the moment. USD' recovery also adds pressure to gold.
Crude oil remains stable at 71 in European morning. Today's focus in on OPEC's meeting as well as API's inventory report after market close. The market anticipates another week of crude draw.