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Palladium extends winning streak on supply fears


Palladium rose for a fourth straight session on Monday to a 13-1/2-year high on fears that supply from top producer Russia could be hit due to the Ukraine crisis, while gold was little changed as the dollar nudged higher.

Spot palladium had climbed 0.8 percent to $906.50 an ounce by 0623 GMT, after earlier hitting a fresh 13-1/2-year high of $907.50.

Investors fear that an escalation of tensions over Ukraine could result in an extension of sanctions against Russia to include palladium producers. Russia accounted for more than 40 percent of global palladium supply last year.

Palladium has gained nearly 27 percent this year, also boosted by strong auto sales and mine strikes in No. 2 producer South Africa that curbed supplies.

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"Prices hit their highest since 2001 as supply concerns mounted amid the prospect for further sanctions against Russia," ANZ analyst Victor Thianpiriya said in a note. "(Palladium) is well positioned for further gains."

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Sunday for immediate talks on the "statehood" of southern and eastern Ukraine, although his spokesman said this did not mean Moscow now endorsed rebel calls for independence for territory they have seized.

The Kremlin leader's remarks came as Europe and the United States prepared possible further sanctions to halt what they say is direct Russian military involvement in the war in Ukraine.

Gold failed to find support from the escalating geopolitical tensions in Ukraine as a stronger dollar offset the metal's safe-haven appeal.

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Spot gold was steady at $1,287.70 an ounce, after posting a small gain last week. The dollar index was trading near a 13-month high, hurting bullion.

Higher equities have also diminished the appetite for gold. SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund and a gauge of investor demand, said its holdings fell 0.08 percent to 795 tonnes on Friday.

Hedge funds and money managers decreased their bullish futures and option bets in gold for a second consecutive week as a record rally in U.S. equities sapped demand for the safe-haven metal, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday.

Physical demand for bullion remained subdued, with the U.S. Mint seeing a 17 percent month-on-month drop in sales of American Eagle gold coins in August.