Gold prices have increased nearly 20% this year and were at an all-time high last week of $989.30 an ounce. Investors seem to be reluctant to push the price over the $1000 an ounce barrier but industry experts predict the price to push past $1,100 an ounce sometime this year. The price increases are being driven by a weak US dollar and escalating inflation fears. Commodities markets are bullish on gold and hedge funds have increased buying the precious metal, driving the price up.
Platinum hit record high prices Monday and then again on Tuesday (March 4) as it hit $2,275 an ounce. The increase in platinum prices is also pulling up palladium prices to a 6 1/2-year high of $588 an ounce. Platinum’s price increase appears to be more supply and demand oriented. Its use in jewelry and auto catalysts to clean exhaust fumes increases and supplies were disrupted by mining problems.
In the retail jewelry market, the record gold and platinum prices will likely result in a focus on lighter gold pieces and alternative metals like steel and silver.