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SINGAPORE: Platinum retreated from a near 6-1/2-year high in Asian trade on Tuesday as prices hit a technical resistance, although expectations that a rebound in the global economy would stoke demand kept the autocatalyst metal supported above the $1,300 an ounce level.

Platinum, used in catalytic converters for vehicles, was up 0.7% at $1,312.34 an ounce by 0706 GMT, but off the session high of $1,336.50, its best since September 2014.

Prices hit a technical resistance near the $1,330 level, said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at financial services firm Axi said, adding that it was a temporary pause and prices could continue to rise further.

The market was also weighing the roll-out of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine in top producer South Africa, he said.

Supply disruptions in South Africa, a recovery in auto sales and stricter emission regulations will keep prices supported, analysts have said.

“With China implementing Phase 6 standard for both gasoline and diesel vehicles from January 2021, Platinum Group Metals loadings will be strong,” said Soni Kumari, a commodity strategist with ANZ.

However, she said, “a swift recovery in mine supply and restart of Anglo (American Platinum)’s smelter to refine the stockpile of unprocessed platinum could pause this rally...”

If supplies take longer to return to normal levels, prices could soon hit $1,400, she added.—Reuters