Platinum prices hit a record high for the eighth straight trading day on Monday on worries power problems in top producer South Africa would hit output badly.

Other precious metals also advanced, with gold rising 1 percent to near its recent record of $936.50 an ounce, silver hitting a 27-year high and palladium rising to its highest level in more than six years.

Spot platinum hit a high of $1,915 an ounce and was quoted at $1,915/1,920 by 6:36 a.m. EST, against $1,880/1,888 late in New York on Friday. U.S. platinum futures also surged to a historic high of $1,920.90 an ounce.

The situation is pretty serious. In the last three weeks, there has been significant production loss of the metal in South Africa, said Tom Kendall, precious metals strategist at Mitsubishi Corp.

Eskom says that they are addressing the problem and the government also says it's trying to resolve the issues, but there are no quick-fix solutions.

Platinum, used in jewellery and autocatalysts, has risen 25 percent so far this year, on the top of 37 percent gains in 2007, after power shortages disrupted mining in South Africa, triggering worries about a bigger market deficit for 2008.

Negotiations were underway for South African state-owned power utility Eskom to buy surplus electricity from local producers as part of its bid to solve the nation's energy crisis, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said.

Anglo Platinum, the world's top platinum producer, said full-year earnings per share fell and it cut its 2008 production forecast mainly due to the power crisis.

Angloplat's 2007 production and refined platinum ounces fell by 6 and 12 percent respectively to 2.47 million ounces, mainly because of safety-related shutdowns, and it again revised down its 2008 output forecast to 2.4 million ounces.

Analysts say the platinum deficit could widen to more than 400,000 ounces by the end of 2008, compared with about 265,000 ounces in 2007. The market had a surplus of 65,000 ounces in 2006 following seven successive years of deficits.

Impala and Northam will also shortly release estimates of how much platinum they expect to lose this year due to reduced power supplies. The news will not be good for industrial users and could push the price closer to $2,000, Kendall said.

South Africa's Impala platinum, the world's second-biggest platinum producer, and Northam Platinum also faced power problems.


Dealers said uncertainties in the dollar's outlook amid the turmoil in credit markets had also encouraged investors to buy platinum as well as gold, silver and palladium.

Gold might hit $1,000 and platinum might hit $2,000 by the end of the first quarter, said William Kwan, dealer at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Gold firmed to $926.60/927.50 from $918.00/918.70 an ounce. U.S. April gold futures rose $8.50 to $930.60.

The euro rose on Monday after the head of the European Central Bank suggested easing monetary policy was not on the bank's agenda because inflationary pressures persisted in the euro zone.

Gold often moves in the opposite direction of the dollar.

IMF gold sales may lead to some near-term profit taking, but professional traders will be cautious in establishing short positions following repeated failed attempts to play corrections in gold of late, UBS Investment Bank said in a client note.

The Group of Seven rich nations on Saturday approved the sale of gold by the International Monetary Fund from April as part of a broad reform of its budget, Italian Economy Minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa said.

Palladium rose to $443/448 an ounce from $436/441 in New York, while silver rose to a high of $17.38 an ounce and was last quoted at $17.37/17.42, versus $17.10/17.15.

(Additional reporting by Lewa Pardomuan in Singapore)

(Editing by Chris Johnson)