What’s Moving Gold, Platinum and Palladium

Posted by John Nadler, Kitco.com senior gold analyst

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Spot precious metals dealings opened with assorted losses Friday morning as the aforementioned fizzling in the euro’s rally occurred and as the US dollar repaired yesterday’s minor damage with an ascent of 0.35% to the 80.36 mark on the trade-weighted index. Gold fell $10 to $1,645.50 while silver dropped 19 cents to the $30.45 bid quote. Rhodium was quoted as unchanged at $1,300 per ounce.

HSBC’ release of its flash Chinese PMI data added to the base and precious metals’ woes as it continues to show difficulties in that country’s manufacturing sector (as well as its export sector). As China ushers in the New Year, many are wondering what will happen in the all-important real estate niche given what has just been learned about it.

Bloomberg Business Week reports that China’s December home prices posted their worst performance last year, with only two of the 70 cities tracked by the government posting gains. Prices in 52 of 70 cities monitored declined from the previous month, the statistics bureau said this week, while those in the nation’s four major cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou slid for a third month. The nation’s home transactions will fall 10 percent this year, according to Daiwa Securities Capital Markets, while UBS AG says the curbs may boost supply to the highest in a decade.”

Also adding to downside pressure in gold was the perception that physical gold demand from China is now at risk as locals begin Year of the Dragon celebrations and have apparently loaded up on as much gold as they wished prior to the event. Counting on India to take up the slack may not…pan out either, as one day after the imposition of new, high tariffs on gold and on silver the locals were apparently steering clear of their local gold outlets.

It is, however, a reasonably safe bet that some Chinese gold acquirers in recent weeks opted to go for the stunning range of PAMP “Lunar Calendar Series” gold ingots that feature the scaly creature that hopefully brings them good fortune in 2012. Enter the Dragon; the PAMP Dragon, that is. You can see it, along with many other fine recent designs by gold fabricators at your one-stop source for jaw-dropping images of the yellow metal; GoldBarsWorldWide.com

Platinum was down $15 at $1,505 and palladium was off by $12 at $663 per ounce. In PGM-supportive news, we have two items of interest today. First, we have the news that GM is at number one spot again (whodathunkit after the near-death experience it had just 36 months ago?) in the world of automobile sales. The US firm moved more than 9 million cars into global consumers’ garages last year, edging out Toyota Motor, which also fell behind VW Group in its 2011 sales on account of the production difficulties arising out of the March 2011 Sendai Quake.

Next, if you thought that the probable exhaustion on Russia’s state-owned palladium stockpiles might make life “interesting” for that metal as we head into next year, consider the following news item as well. Reuters reports that “Russian miner Norilsk Nickel is expecting to reduce production this year to adapt to a slight fall in global metals demand, its CEO said on Thursday, but does not see a slump into another global economic crisis. The company [is] the world’s biggest producer of nickel and palladium.”