Palladium, used mostly in gasoline-fueled vehicles that dominate markets in North America and China, is approaching a bear market after falling almost 6 percent this month to $756 an ounce in London. The Bloomberg Commodity Index is down 1 percent in January, after touching a 12-year low last week. The Bloomberg Dollar Index has risen 0.7 percent, and the MSCI All-Country Index of world equities slid 1.5 percent.
Interest rates near zero and a strengthening job market are providing a boost to U.S. auto sales, which in November rose to an annualized rate of 17.2 million vehicles, the highest since November 2003, according researcher Autodata Corp. December was slightly less at 16.9 million, based on data adjusted for seasonal trends.
Cheaper fuel “might attract some drivers to buy a car when they otherwise wouldn’t have,” said Jonathon Poskitt, the head of sales forecasting for Europe at Oxford, England-based researcher LMC Automotive Ltd.