Platinum, Palladium Drop on Emerging Market Woes

NEW YORK (AP) -

Platinum and palladium slumped Friday, as investors fretted about the prospects for growth in emerging markets.

Both metals, which are used to make catalytic converters for autos, tend to track the outlook for growth in emerging economies such as China and Latin America. A downturn in emerging markets began Thursday following signs that manufacturing was contracting in China, a major importer of raw materials and a key driver of global economic growth.

“For platinum and palladium, more than half of the demand is (for use) in automobiles,” said Howard Wen, a precious-metals analyst at HSBC Securities. “So, global growth has an influence on these metals, obviously.”

The price of platinum for delivery in April fell $34.60, or 2.4 percent, to $1,428.60 an ounce. Palladium for March dropped $11.10, or 1.5 percent, to $734.80 an ounce.

In other metals trading, Gold rose for a fifth straight week. The metal closed up $2, or 0.2 percent, at $1,264.30 an ounce Friday. Gold has climbed as the dollar has weakened.

Copper for March delivery fell 1.4 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $3.27 per pound. Silver for the same month fell 24 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $19.77 an ounce.