Palladium futures prices Friday posted new highs on the New York Mercantile Exchange as a five-month delay in shipping new supplies from Russia threatened to extend well into the summer.
On other markets, orange juice and crude oil futures fell sharply.Manufacturers who use palladium, particularly car makers, are being forced to scramble for available supplies as Russian shipments continue to be delayed. Russia, the largest single producer of palladium, has not shipped any of the industrial metal since December, and repeated assurances that shipments will come soon have fallen flat.
Many manufacturers, expecting supplies would come to market a-round May, were caught off guard when new predictions began surfacing this week that supplies could be delayed until as late as August.
The metals' use in dentistry has fallen sharply in the past year after that industry sought alternatives to the growing scarceness. But the auto industry increasingly has been using the metal to comply with countries' laws about reducing automobile emissions. Palladium is used in anti-pollution catalytic converters.
South Africa, the only other large supplier, has been unable to keep up with the strong demand.