Platinum, palladium prices tank

South Africa (Apr 7)  The price of platinum lost more than $20 an ounce and sister metal palladium dropped 3% on Monday despite an ongoing strike at three top producers and strong investor interest.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for July delivery – the most active contract – in early afternoon trade exchanged hands for $1,428.70 an ounce, down $23.10 compared to Friday's close and near the day's lows.

On the day before more than 70,000 South African workers went on strike at Anglo American Platinum (LON:AAL), Imapala Platinumm (OTCMKTS:IMPUY) and Lonmin (LON:LMI) which together account for almost 50% of the world's production, platinum was trading at $1,450 an ounce.

Roughly 10,000 ounces of production are lost each day the strike drags on and even after a resolution to the bitter dispute can be found it would take months for the affected mines to return to capacity.

Year to date platinum is up 3.7%, but remains $125 or 8% below where it was this time last year.

Palladium also fell on Monday with June futures last trading at $768.75, down 2.8% on the day and recovering slightly from a day low of $761.25.

Palladium which has been outperforming platinum, helped in part by tensions with Russia which together with South Africa control more than 70% of global supply.

The metal touched its highest level since September 2011 in March and is up 6.8% since the start of the year.