By STEVE ROTHWELL
The price of palladium surged Tuesday after a report highlighted a potential shortfall in supply of the metal.
Palladium for December delivery gained $28.55, or 4.7 percent, to finish at $636.60 an ounce. It was the biggest gain in almost three months.
January platinum rose $19.90 to $1,586.40 per ounce. Both metals are used to make catalytic converters in autos.
Demand for palladium will rise as more of it is purchased for use in catalytic converters, while supplies from mines in Russia and South Africa will remain constrained, according to a report by London-based Johnson Matthey. The company is a manufacturer of catalytic systems that are used to reduce harmful emissions from engines.
Auto sales may also be bolstered further in coming months as people buy new cars to replace those damaged by Superstorm Sandy, supporting demand for the metal, said Phil Streible, a senior commodities broker at RJ O'Brien in Chicago.
In other metals trading, Gold was little changed as traders waited for more developments on Europe's debt crisis. The crisis has increased demand for the metal as a safe haven and as a hedge against inflation.
In December contracts, gold fell $6.10, or 0.4 percent, to settle at $1,724.80 an ounce. Silver was down 3.5 cents at $32.487 an ounce. Copper edged up 0.3 cent to $3.4710 per pound.
Benchmark oil fell 19 cents to close at $85.38 a barrel.
Oil fell as low at $84.57 after the International Energy Agency lowered its forecast for oil demand and said global supplies were growing.
In agricultural contracts, coffee for March delivery fell 7.05 cents to $1.46 per pound. December wheat slid 6.75 cents to $8.510 a bushel, its third straight decline. December corn climbed 5.5 cents to $7.235 a bushel and January soybeans rose 3 cents to $14.08 per bushel.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press