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Prices of Palladium Close At Highest Level Since 1980
The New York Times

April 14, 1989

Palladium prices yesterday closed at their highest level since early 1980 as speculators bid up the metal on prospects for broader use resulting from nuclear fusion experiments.

In lively trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the June delivery contract closed up the $6 limit at $179.65 an ounce.

The platinum futures contract for July delivery gained $25, to $558.30 an ounce, with the daily limit preventing prices from breaking through a technical resistance point at $559.

Antipollution Curbs

Traders said the gains followed news late Wednesday that the European Parliament had approved tough antipollution curbs for small cars, starting in 1993. The curbs should spur demand for platinum, which is used in catalytic converters.

Palladium prices have been rising for nearly a month on reports of breakthroughs by Hungarian, British and American scientists in producing energy through nuclear fusion in a procedure using palladium. On Wednesday, scientists in the Soviet Union were added to the list when the Soviet press agency Tass reported that Moscow University had completed experiments on cold fusion. #27% Gain Since March Palladium prices have jumped almost 27 percent since late March, when two scientists, one American and one British, csaid they had sustained a nuclear fusion reaction at room temperature in an experiment using palladium and heavy water.

Palladium prices are approaching levels last seen during the precious metals boom of 1980, when rampant inflation, international political tension and an abortive attempt by the Hunt brothers of Texas to corner the silver market drove precious metals to dizzying peaks.

Palladium hit a record $335 an ounce in early March 1980, with platinum and gold at $1,050 and $850, respectively. Prices then fell sharply over the next six months.


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