By Taras Berezowsky
Last month, we wrote that winter was apparently "just heating up" for the Global Precious Monthly Metals Index (MMI).
Turns out we were right.
The subindex tracking a basket of gold, silver, platinum and palladium prices from four different geographies shot up four points to hit 94 for the February reading - a 4.4% increase - driven by a scorching palladium price that began the month higher than the gold price (both above $1,300 per ounce).
But that wasn't the only driver.
The U.S. silver price, as tracked by our MetalMiner IndX, bumped above $16 per ounce, the first time it reached that level since July 2018.
Gold began the month sitting pretty at $1,320 per ounce. Meanwhile, the U.S. platinum price rebounded for the February reading after its January dip, ending up at $820 per ounce.
Let's take a moment to take that in: platinum at $820, while palladium broke the $1,300 barrier to start February at $1,325 per ounce. That represents the most massive platinum-palladium spread ($505 separating the two) in favor of palladium in the history of MetalMiner's Monthly Metals Index, which dates back to January 2012.
It's also the 16th straight month of palladium holding a premium over platinum.
A palladium price correction? Nowhere to be seen so far.
Latest Palladium Price Outlook
Reuters polled 29 analysts and traders just before the beginning of this month on the palladium and platinum outlook, and while the former's prices may stagnate in 2020, these next 11 months look to be the metal's best ever.
"The median forecast was for prices to average $1,200 an ounce this year and $1,150 in 2020 - up from $1,027 last year and only $612 in 2016, but beneath current prices around $1,350 and the record high of $1,434.50 reached earlier this month," according to the article.
What is Driving PGM Prices?
The global palladium supply shortage is still the top driver, with a shortfall of more than 1 million ounces this year and next estimated by researchers Refinitiv GFMS, according to Reuters.
However - automotive metaphor alert - the driver that could stall the palladium price craze is a marked slowdown in major global car markets.
Automotive sales in China fell last year for the first time in three decades, and the U.S. and E.U. automotive markets are bracing for more potential slowdowns amid economic growth concerns.
Will that happen in 2019? Much remains to be seen.
For now, it seems that if buyers are buying on the spot market and could stand to somehow substitute platinum for palladium in their industrial applications, it wouldn't hurt to look into it.
Key Price Movers and Shakers
The U.S. silver price bumped up 3.6% to sit above $16 per ounce.
Gold began the month at $1,320 per ounce, a 5.8% increase over its Jan. 1 level.
The U.S. platinum price rebounded for the February reading after its January dip, rising 3.3% and ending up at $820 per ounce.
Editor’s Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.