Russia's MMC Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest palladium producer, will sharply cut sales from its stockpile in the next two years before ending them altogether in 2014, a company executive said Thursday.
The stockpile has supplied about 15 percent of global demand for palladium, which is used in vehicle catalytic converters, for the last 40 years.
Anton Berlin, Norilsk Nickel's marketing director, told participants at the ETF Securities Annual Precious Metals Conference 2011 that palladium sales this year from the company's stockpile will be about 850,000 ounces.
During 2012 and 2013 the publicly held company, which is also the world's biggest nickel producer, will sell a total of some 300,000 ounces of palladium, after which its stockpile will be depleted, he said.
This year Norilsk Nickel expects to produce 2.7 million ounces of palladium, about 2.8 percent less than it produced in 2010.
News of the palladium stockpile's depletion was disclosed inside Russia recently to media outlet Russian Business Consulting, which cited an anonymous Ministry of Finance official, Berlin said.
Palladium for March delivery, the most actively traded contract on the Comex, closed up nearly 2.9 percent to $630.20. Since Nov. 9 the metal's value on the Comex has fallen about 3.8 percent.