Europe Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.. Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:11:20 +0000 SRA Framework 2.0 en-gb London copper climbs after China factory data imageSYDNEY: London copper rose on Thursday after a slight pickup in growth in China's vast manufacturing sector, but simmering uncertainties over the global economy kept a lid on prices.

China's factory sector grew a shade faster in October as firms saw more foreign and domestic orders, a private survey showed on Thursday, though the modest expansion likely won't dispel concerns about the cooling Chinese economy.

"It would be a false hope for people to be expecting China policymakers to come to the rescue (of the copper market) yet again," said analyst Matthew Fusarelli of AME Group in Sydney.

"We are expecting slower demand growth next year and we expect to see a lot higher smelter utilisation rate given the extra mine supply coming out," he said.

The AME Group expects the global refined copper market to be balanced this year for the first time since 2009, swinging into a surplus of more than 500,000 tonnes next year when it sees prices averaging at $6,800.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.5 percent to $6,655.25 a tonne by 0719 GMT. The metal hit a one-week top of $6,710 a tonne in the previous session before closing down 0.6 percent.

Volumes remained thin due to an industry week in London.

Underscoring the pressures facing China's economy, growth in new orders at home and abroad slowed in October and producer prices fell, pushing factory inflation to a seven-month low.

The flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) edged up to a three-month high of 50.4 from a final reading of 50.2 in September, and just a hair's breadth from the 50.3 reading forecast by analysts.

The most-traded January copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange traded flat at 47,120 yuan ($7,700) a tonne, while ShFE zinc rallied by nearly 2 percent, tracking gains in London overnight.

China's central bank is likely to hold its line against an interest rate cut even as growth slows to a quarter-century trough, as the politics of reform influence the conduct of monetary policy, government sources involved in internal policy discussions say.

A trader at a copper smelter in China said markets had taken heart from strong implied copper consumption given that the country's state grid, a large user of copper had not yet fulfilled its order commitments.

Elsewhere, U.S. consumer prices rose marginally in September, painting a weak inflation picture that should give the Federal Reserve ample room to keep interest rates low for a while.

Across other metals, Russian aluminium giant Rusal plans to keep output largely flat for three years because healthy stock levels are sufficient to make up for any output shortfalls, a top executive said on Wednesday.

Reflecting nearby supply stress in aluminium, cash prices have climbed against the benchmark to the narrowest since late August.

Many aluminum producers have cut loss-making capacity or shut down completely as they struggle with low London Metal Exchange prices, high energy costs and a flood of new capacity from China.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:11:35 +0000
Gold hits one-month high on flat dollar, slowing China growth imageLONDON: Gold rose to a one-month high on Tuesday as the dollar edged down slightly and on worries over a slowdown in the global economy after China's growth eased in the third quarter to its weakest since the 2008/09 financial crisis.

Data showed China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 7.3 percent between July and September from a year earlier, down from a 7.5 percent in the second quarter, although slightly above the 7.2 percent forecast by analysts.

Spot gold hit its highest since Sept. 10 at $1,253.70 an ounce in earlier trade and was up 0.4 percent at $1,250.90 by 0940 GMT. U.S. gold futures were up $6.70 an ounce at $1,251.30.

"The retreat of the U.S. dollar from multi-year highs removed the main obstacle for gold," Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said.

"Weak economic data in the eurozone and China led to concerns that the U.S. economy will not be immune against a slowdown in economic growth, causing a turmoil in wider markets over the past few days."

The dollar was unchanged versus a basket of leading currencies, undermined by a dip in U.S. government bond yields.

The U.S. currency has lost ground in recent weeks as concerns about slowing global growth prompted investors to trim bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates soon after an expected end in its stimulus later this month.

A delay in raising rates would be seen as positive for gold, a non-interest-bearing asset, and negative for the dollar.

In wider markets, European shares rose on Tuesday, trimming the previous day's losses.

"Despite the recent rebound in equities, there are still some worries out there that could attract bids for gold. Weakness in the dollar is a major factor for gold," said a trader in Hong Kong.

With the Chinese data now out, the market's focus will now turn to Wednesday's U.S. inflation figures and Thursday's European manufacturing reports, traders said.

Gold was also bolstered by buying interest in the physical markets from Asia -- the top consuming region.

India, the second-biggest gold buyer, celebrates the festivals of Dhanteras on Tuesday and Diwali later in the week. Both are considered auspicious for buying gold, and retail sales and imports could get a boost.

News that India's central bank will not tighten gold import rules further could also lend some support.

But overall sentiment towards gold remained wary. Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 1.18 percent to 751.97 tonnes on Monday -- the biggest daily percentage drop in a year.

Among the other precious metals, spot silver was up 0.4 percent at $17.44 an ounce. Platinum was up 0.8 percent at $1,266.70 an ounce, while palladium rose 0.3 percent to $762.40 an ounce.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:10:27 +0000
Arabica coffee extends decline on Brazil rains, sugar down imageLONDON: Arabica coffee futures on ICE extended losses on Tuesday as rainfall in top grower Brazil was expected to provide some relief to trees stressed by unseasonably dry conditions.

Raw sugar futures eased, under pressure from surplus supply, while cocoa was also lower.

December arabicas were down 2.9 cents or 1.5 percent to $1.9650 per lb at 0948 GMT, having fallen around 7 percent since last week's close on improving weather conditions.

"Rain has now been forecast for the next few days, following occasional rainfall at the weekend, causing an immediate sharp drop in prices," Commerzbank said in a daily note.

"Rain is urgently needed for the blossom to develop and to ensure that the blooms already formed do not fall and that fruit can develop from them."

Brazil's 2015/16 coffee crop is expected to have been irreversibly damaged by the dry weather, however, which analysts say should underpin the market.

"Even if more rain does finally fall, the next harvest will nevertheless probably still be hit by the weather of the past few months, which is why we do not envisage arabica prices remaining below 200 US cents for very long," Commerzbank said.

January robusta coffee was down $17 or 0.8 percent to $2,043 a tonne.


March raw sugar on ICE was down 0.19 cents or 1.1 percent at 16.49 cents a lb, while December white sugar eased $3.80 or 0.9 percent to $423.90 per tonne.

Dealers said both the fundamental and technical outlook was bearish in the short term, with ample sugar available from the Brazilian harvest.

"This morning, prices extended losses and breached below the 40-day moving average at 16.76, verifying the recent downside momentum in the sugar market," Myrto Sokou brokerage Sucden Financial said.

"Support holds near September's low of 15.51."

Cocoa futures were lower, but losses were expected to be limited by concern that Ebola could spread to top growers Ivory Coast and Ghana.

December cocoa on ICE was down $30, or 1 percent, at $3,090 a tonne, while London March cocoa futures were down 20 pounds or 1 percent to 1,978 pounds per tonne.

"The Ebola threat could be propping up the market but with no reported cases maybe fundamentals are slightly favouring that it could go lower," a UK-based broker said.

"If we start closing below 1,940 (pounds) on the second month that would look as though it's breaking down."

The Cocoa Association of Asia is expected to release grinding data on Thursday and dealers are expecting a fall in the region.

Cocoa processing in Malaysia fell 13.7 percent from a year earlier to 61,428 tonnes in the third quarter, the Malaysian Cocoa Board said.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:03:44 +0000
Russia's natural resources minister wants shale oil regulation eased imageMOSCOW: Russia needs to lighten regulation to exploit unconventional oil deposits, including shale, its natural resources minister said, as conventional resources dwindle and Western sanctions limit access to foreign technologies and financing.

The world's top oil producer, believed to hold most of the world's shale oil, extracts less than a million tonnes a year from unconventional sources, including heavy, tight and shale. It pumps conventional oil near its capacity of about 10.5 million barrels per day, with the bulk still coming from depleting western Siberian deposits.

Moscow was counting on technology and funding from abroad to increase its shale production before sanctions were imposed this year over its stance on the Ukraine crisis.

"Russia is facing serious challenges. It is essential to clearly understand which sources will allow sustaining a mineral resources production level essential for the country's economic development," Sergei Donskoi said.

Tapping shale oil has become increasingly unprofitable in Russia as oil prices have plunged by a quarter since June to just above $80 per barrel. Last year, Russia introduced some tax breaks to boost shale oil production.

In a column in newspaper Vedomosti on Tuesday, Donskoi suggested skipping tenders for unconventional oil exploitation, and offering rights to develop such deposits based only on a request from a firm, with a bias towards smaller companies.

Those firms should be obliged to start exploration no later than 4-5 years after the offer was accepted, with a possibility that the field would be transferred to another company if the firm failed to find appropriate technology, he said.

Donskoi also suggested cancelling mineral extraction tax for unconventional oil, and guaranteeing access to refining facilities and funding, including from the National Wealth Fund. Russia's main oil industry tax is oil export duty and mineral extraction tax and it offers tax breaks depending on the structure of a field and its location.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Saad Jabri) Europe Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:15:27 +0000
Oil climbs to $86 as China oil demand rises$86-as-china-oil-demand-rises.html$86-as-china-oil-demand-rises.html imageLONDON: Brent crude oil rose to around $86 a barrel on Tuesday on news of robust Chinese oil demand, although gains were capped by oversupply and concerns over the health of the rest of the global economy.

Implied oil demand in the world's largest energy consumer jumped 6.2 percent in September from August to 10.3 million barrels per day, the highest since February.

China's factory output also beat expectations, rising 8 percent in September from a year earlier and boosting hopes of a strengthening recovery.

Data on Tuesday showed China's economy expanded by 7.3 percent in the third quarter, above forecasts but its slowest pace since the global financial crisis.

"Oil is up in reaction to the Chinese demand figures," said Tamas Varga, analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.

"But this is a rally that should be sold into," Varga said. "The rise in implied Chinese oil demand may have more to do with filling stockpiles. Chinese companies have been buying crude oil because it has been cheap."

Brent was up 60 cents a barrel at $86.00 by 0755 GMT, well above a near four-year low reached last week, but still down more than a quarter since June.

US crude was up 50 cents at $83.21.

"With higher industrial production, we may see an increase in crude demand coming from China moving forward," analysts at Phillips Futures in Singapore said in a note to clients.

The gradual slide in Chinese growth added to worries about the economic outlook which have led the International Energy Agency to slash its world oil demand growth forecast for next year.

Citi cut its price forecasts for Brent and US crudes to $92 and $83, respectively, for the fourth quarter of this year. This follows downward revisions by BNP Paribas and Bank of America Merrill Lynch last week.

Some members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have indicated that the group is unlikely to ease the oil supply glut by cutting output ahead of its Nov. 27 meeting. Others are preparing 2015 budgets with lower oil prices.

While Libya supports an output cut, other African members seemed less keen.

The oil price slump could also affect US shale production. About a third of the production would be uneconomical at oil prices below $80 per barrel, analysts at Bernstein Research said.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Saad Jabri) Europe Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:47:02 +0000
Gold climbs above $1,240/oz as European stocks retreat$1240oz-as-european-stocks-retreat.html$1240oz-as-european-stocks-retreat.html imageLONDON: Gold snapped two days of losses to rise on Monday as renewed weakness in European stocks boosted interest in the metal as an alternative asset, though a tentative recovery in risk appetite on other markets limited its gains.

The metal rebounded sharply after falling to its lowest in over a year earlier this month, as jitters over growth prompted stock markets to sell off aggressively.

A bounce in equities after upbeat housing and consumer sentiment data on Friday helped take the shine off that recovery, but gold's subsequent move lower proved temporary.

Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,241.31 an ounce at 1015 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for April delivery were up $2.90 an ounce at $1,241.90.

"It's very much what's happening in the European equity markets, what's happening with the dollar, that's driving gold," Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said.

"Maybe there's a re-rating of risk appetite going on... the prospect of deflation in the euro zone, and also potentially in the United States, should support the long-term view on gold."

European stocks fell early on Monday, trimming lofty gains made in the previous session, with a profit warning from German business software maker SAP hitting shares in the tech sector. Stocks had risen overnight in Asia.

Sentiment in the broader financial markets showed some tentative signs of recovery, however.

Euro zone bond yields dipped as concerns about a slowdown in global growth eased. German 10-year Bund yields, which set the standard for euro zone borrowing costs, fell 1 basis point to 0.85 percent, while Spanish, Italian and most other yields were down 1-2 basis points on the day.


Hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish futures and option bets in gold in the week up to Oct. 14 after eight consecutive weekly declines, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.

The world's largest bullion-backed exchange traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, has also been seen an uptick in investments. Its holdings rose 1.5 tonnes last week, its first weekly inflow since early September.

Demand from the leading centres of physical gold buying in Asia has been strong, but may be set to abate, MKS said in a note on monday.

"Physical demand has been a primary driver of the $70 move off the $1,182 lows a few weeks back," it said. "However, now that we are closing in on Diwali this week, Indian physical demand should moderate."

"Chinese physical demand has been steady but tepid, with outright demand on the modest side at these higher levels though metal is still being snapped up for loans," it added. "Shanghai Gold Exchange premiums have backed off as a result, with the kilobar contract slipping into discount on occasion last week."

Spot platinum was up 1.2 percent at $1,267.90 an ounce, while spot palladium was up 0.5 percent at $754.30 an ounce.

Silver was up 0.7 percent at $17.35 an ounce. The gold/silver ratio, which measures the number of silver ounces needed to buy an ounce of gold, held near a five-year high on Monday as silver prices underperformed.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:57:32 +0000
Soy hits 1-week low on favourable US harvest weather imageLONDON: Chicago soybean futures fell to a one-week low and corn prices also weakened on Monday with drier weather in the U.S. Midwest set to allow harvesting to accelerate.

Wheat prices also lost ground weighed by weakening demand from the feed sector.

November soybeans on the Chicago Board of Trade were off 1.1 percent at $9.41-1/4 a bushel at 1023 GMT after earlier touching a one-week low of $9.40-1/4.

"The weather is looking great and it will help the U.S. farmers to speed up the harvest," said Ole Houe, an analyst at Sydney-based brokerage IKON Commodities. "Last week's rally was purely about delayed harvest in the U.S. and I won't be surprised if we see prices dropping most of the days this week."

Forecasts called for mostly dry conditions across the Midwest this week. The sunshine should dry saturated fields after a week-long rainy spell that hit the southern half of the Corn Belt especially hard.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the U.S. corn harvest was only 24 percent complete by Oct. 12, compared with the five-year average of 43 percent. Soybeans were 40 percent harvested, compared with an average of 53 percent. Traders expect farmers to make up for lost time in the coming days.

Soybeans came under more pressure after private analytics firm Informa Economics raised its projection of U.S. soybean plantings for 2015 to a record high 88.5 million acres. If realized, this would represent the first time since 1983 that U.S. farmers plant more soybeans than corn.


"A record U.S. (soybean) harvest and limited prospects for acreage reduction in South America should drive a rapid transition from deficit to surplus in 14/15," Morgan Stanley said in a market note on Monday.

"With soybeans still attractively priced against corn, we continue to see downside to prices to discourage additional plantings next year.

Corn prices on the CBOT also fell with December off 0.9 percent at $3.44-3/4 a bushel.

"We see the near-term risks to corn prices as balanced, as periodic weather scares and harvest delays only temporarily push back against harvest pressure," Morgan Stanley said.

Large speculators raised their net long position in Chicago Board of Trade corn futures in the week to Oct. 14, regulatory data released on Friday showed.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly commitments of traders report also showed that noncommercial traders, a category that includes hedge funds, trimmed their net short position in CBOT wheat and trimmed their net short position in soybeans.

Wheat prices were lower with CBOT December down 1.0 percent at $5.10-3/4 a bushel while November futures in Paris off 1.1 percent at 158.25 euros a tonne.

Dealers said concern that abundant supplies of lower priced corn could undermine demand for wheat from the feed sector was helping to weigh on prices.

"We expect that continued global feed substitution back to corn and adequate supply in the EU and FSU (former Soviet Union) should limit upside for prices," Morgan Stanley said.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:52:36 +0000
Copper slips as Chinese growth, supply weighs imageSYDNEY/LONDON: Copper stayed relatively weak on Monday, struggling to make headway after sliding to six month lows in the previous session, with uncertainty over China's economic growth and a firmer dollar against its main currency rivals.

Asia-based traders also noted that copper's fundamentals looked shaky compared with other base metals as a wave of fresh supply worked its way into the market.

Last week's 17.5 percent increase in copper inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange was pulling the metal down.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 1 percent at $6,573.00 a tonne by 1030 GMT. It hit a six-month low of $6,530 on Friday but bounced back later in the day to close 1.3 percent higher.

Analysts said that while uncertainty over growth in commodity-consuming giant China was a bearish factor, its impact would probably be limited.

"There's already a relatively weak scenario in terms of the Chinese economy, at least, priced in. The data over the week will probably confirm a moderate growth slowdown," Danske Bank commodities analyst Jens Pedersen said.

With the U.S. Federal reserve set to turn off its money taps at the end of this month, investors are focusing on poor growth prospects in much of the world, something International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has termed a "new mediocre".

China's economy is likely to have grown at its weakest pace in more than five years in the third quarter as a property downturn weighed on demand, a Reuters poll showed.

Aluminium was slightly firmer at $1,975 a tonne. Three-month nickel fell 0.9 percent to $15,551 a tonne.

News that Marcventures Holdings Inc, one of the Philippines' biggest nickel miners, had been granted approval to expand its mining operations, helping it to ramp up ore exports to China, clouded nickel's outlook.

Nickel had found support from a ban by Indonesia in January on nickel ore exports, much of which went to China.

"This is another example of the impact of the ban being negated," said a Sydney-based trader.

Joko Widodo became the new president of Indonesia on Monday and is expected to maintain the ban introduced under the previous administration.

Analysts estimated the ban removed a third of global nickel mine supply.

South Pacific countries are also vying to play a bigger role in supplying nickel.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:49:00 +0000
Arabicas slide on forecasts for wetter weather in Brazil imageLONDON: Arabica coffee futures on ICE fell almost 5 percent on Monday on forecasts for wetter weather in the coffee-growing areas of top producer Brazil.

Raw sugar futures rose in light volumes in reaction to data showing that speculators had increased a net short position in the week to Oct. 14, against a backdrop of heavy supplies as the cane crush wound down in centre-south Brazil.

Cocoa on ICE dipped as worries eased over the potential impact of Ebola on supplies from West Africa, with brisk bean arrivals contributing to push prices lower.

December arabica coffee on ICE was down 7.35 cents or 3.5 percent to $2.0330 per lb at 1029 GMT, having earlier dropped almost 5 percent to $2.0015 per lb.

"The drop is a knee-jerk reaction to Brazil weather reports," said Andrea Thompson, an analyst with CoffeeNetwork, part of INTL FCStone. "The market is going to move on weather reports because people are uncertain over the impact of weather on the crop."

Brazil's drought-stressed coffee and sugar cane areas in the main southeast growing region will see slightly improved chances for rain over the next two weeks, local and U.S. weather forecasters said on Friday.

Dry weather has threatened Brazil's 2015/16 output, sending futures to a 2-1/2 year high of $2.2550 on Oct. 6.

November robusta coffee on Liffe, pressured by arabicas, was down $60 or 2.8 percent to $2,057 a tonne.

March raw sugar on ICE was up 0.22 cents or 1.3 percent at 16.84 cents a lb, while December white sugar on Liffe rose $5 or 1.2 percent to $431.00 per tonne.

Dealers focused on the latest Commitments of Traders report, which showed that speculators in ICE sugar had increased their net short position by 1,326 lots to 62,535 lots.

"The fact that the funds/specs are still quite short may encourage the bulls to go in search of buy stops, but unless we see a substantial increase in end-destination demand, I feel that the upside may be rather limited," one broker said.

Dealers awaited Brazil's first-half October cane crush data later this week and said they were tracking its real currency in the run-up to the presidential election on Oct. 26.

Cocoa eased after the main industry body said it did not expect Ebola to cause a "significant disruption" in the market.

Exporters in Ivory Coast are making "all efforts" to ship cocoa as soon as it is available, the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) said in a statement on the impact of the Ebola outbreak on the West Africa cocoa sector.

Brisk Ivory Coast bean arrivals data weighed on cocoa.

Cocoa arrivals at ports in top grower Ivory Coast reached around 118,000 tonnes by Oct. 19 since the start of the season on Oct. 1, exporters estimated on Monday, up from 109,000 tonnes in the same period of the previous season.

Dealers said that Asia's third-quarter cocoa grind, expected to be issued this week, was likely to show a year-on-year decline and a further drop could be seen in the fourth quarter.

December cocoa on ICE was down $15, or 0.5 percent, at $3,103 a tonne.

London December cocoa eased 13 pounds, or 0.6 percent, to 2,021 pounds per tonne. Second-month March was down 12 pounds or 0.6 percent to 1,989 pounds per tonne.

"On the downside, support holds near October's low at 1,944 pounds. A break below this level opens the potential for further declines towards 1,900-1,930, while long-term support holds near July's low at 1,883," said Myrto Sokou, senior research analyst with Sucden Financial, referring to the second-month contract.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:44:09 +0000
Gold tipped to decline for third straight year in 2015 imageLONDON: Gold prices will lag industrial precious metals platinum and palladium in 2015, analysts polled by Reuters predict, as a gradually stabilising world economy favours raw materials over so called "defensive" assets.

A poll of 30 analysts conducted by Reuters over the last month returned an average gold price forecast of $1,225 an ounce for next year, against $1,270 an ounce predicted for 2014. That would represent a third consecutive year of losses.

A similar survey in July returned an average 2015 price view of $1,250 an ounce, suggesting confidence in gold is waning.

The metal's more than decade-long bull run came to an end last year as prices crashed by 28 percent.

Despite some strength in early 2014 as stocks and the dollar retreated, gold prices have struggled to recover, and are currently little changed on the year.

"Following a period of stability, we expect gold prices to resume their decline in 2015 as U.S. interest rate hikes and further U.S. dollar appreciation come more into focus," James Glenn, an analyst at National Australia Bank, said.

"On the other side, a better-than-expected recovery in the U.S. and global economy, and/or an easing of geopolitical tensions, would bolster demand for riskier assets and drive gold prices lower much sooner than we expect."

Silver prices are also expected to fall next year, to an average $18.90 an ounce from a forecast of $19.40 this year.

Silver is currently down just over 10 percent this year, after plummeting 36 percent in 2013, its biggest annual fall since Reuters data began more than 30 years ago.


A return to growth would be likely to benefit cyclical assets such as industrial metals, including platinum and palladium, which are chiefly used in car manufacturing.

Both metals, unlike gold and silver, are forecast to rise in 2015, though analysts have sliced their expectations of platinum prices since the metal failed to benefit from an unprecedented five-month platinum miners' strike this year.

A poll of 23 analysts conducted by Reuters returned an average 2015 price forecast for platinum of $1,477.50 an ounce, nearly 8 percent below the forecast returned in a similar poll in July of $1,600 an ounce.

The new forecast was still an improvement on expectations for an average platinum price of $1,424 an ounce this year, however.

"The difficulties during the platinum strike were not a one-off issue," Sharps Pixley chief executive Ross Norman said. "South Africa has a long history of poor labour relations... we fully expect things to worsen in 2015."

The strike in South Africa was estimated to have cost 1.1 million ounces of platinum supply. However, the availability of plentiful above-ground stocks of the metal is said to have cushioned the market from any immediate supply shock.

Analysts saw palladium rising to an average $890 an ounce in 2015 from an expected $814.50 this year.

The metal, which hit its highest since early 2001 earlier this year, is widely seen as having a stronger demand outlook than platinum.

"We think platinum will continue to lose market share to palladium and other cheaper substitutes in the auto industry," Capital Economics analyst Caroline Bain said.

"Meanwhile, palladium above-ground stocks are believed to be significantly lower than platinum and it will also be affected by any disruptions in the South African mining industry."

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:08:13 +0000