PGMs rise in European session after Wednesday's sluggish performance. Comex platinum futures grind higher to 1564 after closing flat at 1550.4 yesterday while palladium futures rebound to 464 after plunging -1.92% to 453.3. PGMs were under pressure as Eskom's comment that the state electricity provider has sufficient power-generating capacity for the additional demands of the World Cup dimmed hopes of mining disruptions. Yet, positive news elsewhere contained PGMs' downsides.
May US light vehicle sales beat market expectations and surged +17.9%, saar, to 11.63M units. The reading was encouraging as it was the second highest reading in 9 months as well as a result in the absence of aggressive discount. Auto market in the US has performed better than previously expected. Survey shows that consumers' intention to buy cars in coming 6 months has risen in recent months despite renewed worries over global economic slowdown. This should help boost PGM prices.
The US SEC approved ETF Securities last week to increase the number of shares offered in its platinum- and palladium- based ETFs. According to the company, share offering of platinum ETF soared +6.44M to 11.22M shares while that for palladium ETF increased +5.92M to 18.8M. The 2 ETFs were well-received after trading started in January. As of May 28, holdings in the US-listed ETFS Physical Platinum Shares reached 334.2K oz, around 30% of all platinum ETFs, while that ETFS Physical Palladium Shares reached 788.4K oz, around 40% of the palladium ETF universe. Increase in new shares indicates robustness of PGM investment demand among US investors.
Currently trading at 1223, Comex gold futures change little after pulling back yesterday. Some updates on official gold holdings: The IMF reported sale of 14.4 tons of gold in April, following sales of 5.6 tons and 18.5 tons in February March respectively. Gold sales totaled 38.5 tons over the past 3 months and left 152.8 tons gold available for sale. At the same time, Russia's holdings added +5 tons to 668.7 tons during the month. SPDR Gold Trust recorded total holdings of 40.8M oz, or 1268.54 tons, as of June. Holdings in SPDR have been making record highs as sovereign crisis in the Eurozone spurred demand for safe-haven assets. In fact, SPDR ranks 6th in total world gold holdings, just below France and higher than China and the ECB.
Crude oil slides below 74 after soaring to as high as 74.4 after government report showed disappointing retail sales in the Eurozone. The 16-nation region surprisingly showed contraction of -1.2% m/m in April while the market had anticipated a mild growth of +0.1% from a flat month in March. On annual basis, the decline widened to -1.5% from -0.1% in March. European stocks, however, remain firm and should help alleviate weakness in crude price.
In US session, investors should pay attention to ADP employment change, which may give a clue on tomorrow's employment, is expected to show +55K addition in payrolls. The weekly initial jobless claims reading is volatile in nature but can still move the market. The US government will also report ISM services index and factory orders. Both are expected to have improved.