NEW YORK (Scrap Monster): Platinum group metals have been pressured by a drop in a Chinese manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index and weak trade data from the country, said Barclays Capital in a research note.
The preliminary HSBC Chinese PMI for March was 48.1, down from a final reading of 49.6 in February. Meanwhile, the most recent trade data show palladium imports halved year-on-year to 46,000 ounces, the lowest level since February 2009, and over the first two months of the year are down 27% year-on-year.
“The decline in imports has started off the year on a weaker note in comparison with the auto sector, but we do expect palladium demand to improve as tighter emissions legislation are implemented in light of a draft 'Beijing V emission standard,' coupled with modest growth in auto production,” Barclays added.
Platinum imports fell to 188,000 ounces and imports for the year to date are still down 29% year-on-year.
“Even though platinum has traded at a discount to gold on a sustained basis since September, physical demand from China has not responded with the same enthusiasm as in 2008-09, given healthy inventories that were built as platinum prices closed in on their premium to gold last year. However, appetite has responded to price corrections in March, with daily levels jumping to their highest since October,” Barclays continued.
As of 9:13 a.m. EDT, Nymex April platinum was $24.20, or 1.5%, lower to $1,616.20 an ounce. June palladium was down $23.20, or 3.4%, to $666.45.