Friday, Aug 17, 2012
--Nymex platinum up 2.6% to $1,473.10/oz
--Marikana protest deaths roil industry, bolster prices
--Gold ends flat amid summer lull
By Tatyana Shumsky
NEW YORK--Platinum futures finished higher Friday on concerns about the impact of violence on South African platinum output, while gold prices ended near unchanged amid a dearth of trades.
The most actively traded platinum contract, for October delivery, rose $37.90, or 2.6%, to settle at $1,473.10 a troy ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Deadly violence at Lonmin PLC's Marikana platinum mine in South Africa has refocused investors' attention on the rivalry between two labor unions and its impact on metal supply. About 80% of the world's platinum, a metal primarily used in car-exhaust filters, comes from South Africa.
South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday announced an official probe into the deaths of 34 workers from police gunfire Thursday at the Marikana mine.
The fatal clash has roiled the platinum market, sending prices higher amid concerns about the spread of labor unrest and its likely impact on supply.
"Beyond the tragic loss of lives, this is a worrying trend for the platinum industry, as social tensions seem to be spiraling out of control," said Anne-Laure Tremblay, a precious-metals analyst with BNP Paribas.
Gold futures, meanwhile, settled near unchanged amid a summer lull in trading volumes. Gold's average daily trading volume is down 54% in August from a year earlier, following a 13% decline in July.
The most actively traded contract, for December delivery, rose 20 cents to $1,619.40 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the Nymex.
The number of outstanding gold-futures contracts hit its lowest point since September 2009 this week, another sign that fewer market players are willing to participate in the market.
--Matt Day contributed to this article.
Write to Tatyana Shumsky at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 17, 2012 15:01 ET (19:01 GMT)