Precious Metals

Demand pushes palladium spot price to 17-year high

The U.S. Mint sold out of its first production of palladium American Eagle bullion coins on Sept. 25 when 15,000 of the 2017-dated coins were sold to authorized purchasers.

Original images courtesy of U.S. Mint.

Demand for palladium, primarily for use in autocatalysts applications, pushed the spot price of the precious metal to a 17-year high Dec. 22.

The closing spot price of the metal hit $1,042.50 per troy ounce, its highest since Jan. 26, 2001, when the metal closed at $1,090 on the London metals market.

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GFMS analysts from Thomson Reuters forecast that 2018 is anticipated to be the seventh consecutive year for large deficits in the palladium market. According to GFMS, “shortages have in recent years been partly offset by investors selling their holdings in physically backed exchange-traded funds.”

The U.S. Mint plans to issue a Proof American Eagle 1-ounce palladium coin sometime in the fall of 2018, but has not indicated whether a 2018 bullion version will also be offered. The 2017 bullion coin was the first issue in the palladium coin program. Although the 2017 palladium coin was issued as a bullion investment coin, the coin carried a hefty premium on the secondary market, since the coin had limited availability and was sold directly from the Mint only to authorized purchasers and not to the public at large.

Demand on the secondary market far outstripped the maximum 15,000 coins the U.S. Mint produced and released. The Mint had promised production to meet demand.

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