Platinum rises to a 6-month high

Speculation that demand for the metal will strengthen spurs jump as gold steadies.

Gulf News

Johannesburg: Platinum rose to a six-month high in London on speculation that demand for the metal used in autocatalysts will strengthen. Gold was little changed.

Aquarius Platinum Ltd, the fourth-biggest platinum producer in the world last year, rose the most in four months in London trading on plans to raise as much as $249 million (Dh914 million) from bond and share sales to buy Ridge Mining Plc.

Copper rose for the first time in three days in London, leading gains in industrial metals, after a better-than-expected US durable goods report spurred speculation that demand may be improving.

BHP Billiton Ltd, the world's largest mining company, had its full-year profit estimate for next year increased 15 per cent by UBS AG because of a predicted rise in coal prices. Meanwhile, the company cut some contracting jobs at its coal mines in Australia's Queensland state after reducing output.

Rio Tinto Group, the world's third-largest mining company, extended the suspension of its HIsmelt pig iron plant in Australia by a year because of falling prices.

Vietnam will raise import taxes on steel from next month to discourage shipments from overseas and help local manufacturers to clear stockpiles, according to Pham Chi Cuong, chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association.

Iluka Resources Ltd, the world's biggest zircon producer, will idle one of its four synthetic rutile kilns in Western Australia next month, cutting its forecast 2009 production by 5 per cent.

Corn gained for the first time in five days on investor speculation that wet weather may delay plantings in the US.Outlook: Gold little changed

Gold was steady yesterday after ending up a touch in the previous session, weighed down by growing investor risk appetite but drawing support as a hedge amid lingering uncertainties.

The dollar eased against the yen and euro after rebounding the previous day while Japanese stocks tracked their US peers higher.

Gold prices have been stuck in ranges as players await new incentives now that the US government appears to have taken all measures possible to deal with the country's economic and financial distress, traders said.

- Reuters