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BLBG: Platinum Climbs Past $1,000 on Hedge Buying; Palladium Gains
By Halia Pavliva

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Platinum rose above $1,000 an ounce, extending yesterday's gains, and palladium climbed as investors bought the metals as alternatives to currencies, stocks and bonds amid a spreading credit crunch.

The financial crisis wiped out more than $6 trillion from U.S. equities in the past year, Bloomberg data show. Some investors buy precious metals including platinum and palladium during financial-market upheavals to preserve value. The dollar fell as much as 1.3 percent against a weighted basked of six major currencies including the euro and yen.

``The metals are up across the board on the continued economic concerns with nowhere else for investors to comfortably place their money,'' Miguel Perez-Santalla, a sales vice president at Heraeus Precious Metals Management in New York, said today in a note to clients.

Platinum futures for January delivery jumped $38.60, or 3.9 percent, to $1,025.10 an ounce at 10:36 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Platinum gained 2.1 percent yesterday, after the most-active contract plunged 14 percent last week, the biggest weekly drop since September 1986.

Palladium futures for December delivery advanced $4.30, or 2.1 percent, to $206 an ounce in New York. Most-active futures fell 10 percent last week and were down 47 percent this year before today.

``Don't expect the platinum-group metals to make any major moves as there is still significant pressure from lack of industrial demand, which is the major consumer of this white metal,'' Perez-Santalla said in the note. ``Palladium is also suffering with platinum and we should see them move in tandem.''

Auto Industry's Effect

Platinum fell 50 percent in the third quarter and 31 percent last month, the worst monthly decline since at least 1986, as makers of cars and trucks reported declining sales. Before today, the most-active contract fell 57 percent from a record $2,308.80 on March 4.

Automakers account for more than 60 percent of global platinum use, according to London-based metals trader Johnson Matthey Plc.

U.S. auto sales plunged the most last month since January 1991, according to Ward's Auto Forecast in Southfield, Michigan. The September results extended the industry's slide to 11 consecutive months, the longest in 17 years.

Auto sales also slid in Europe, dropping 16 percent in August, the biggest monthly decline since 1999.

To contact the reporter on this story: Halia Pavliva in New York at hpavliva@bloomberg.net.