Strike widens world’s palladium shortage

THE most costly mine strike in South Africa’s history has compounded the longest global production shortfall in 14 years for palladium, just as car makers are set to use record amounts of the precious metal.

Output of the commodity used mostly to cut vehicle emissions will trail demand by a record high of

1.6-million ounces this year, after the strike idled 60% of supplies from the world’s second-largest producer, according to autocatalyst maker Johnson Matthey.

Prices have gained 22% since January and touched a 13-year high on Thursday. Analysts expect a further 11% increase in New York prices to $950/oz by year end, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Even though miners said on Thursday they had agreed on a deal "in principle" to end the strike, Morgan Stanley says output deficits will still last at least until 2018 as surging car sales from North America to China boost demand for catalytic converters.

Strike widens world’s palladium shortage