* Palladium up 2.8 percent for week – best since March
* Amplats worker in South Africa stabbed to death on way to
* Gold headed for a flat week

(Updates prices)
By A. Ananthalakshmi
SINGAPORE, May 23 (Reuters) – Palladium was steady near a
2-1/2-year high on Friday and was headed for its best week in
two months on supply fears due to a prolonged strike in major
producer South Africa.
Platinum was on track for its second straight weekly gain,
also on supply worries, while gold was headed for a flat week.
Palladium was steady in early Asian trading after
hitting $837.40 an ounce in the previous session – its highest
since August 2011. The metal has gained 2.8 percent this week,
while platinum has climbed nearly 2 percent.
“The platinum group metals will see some more gains as it
doesn’t look like there will be an agreement soon on the wages
in South Africa,” said one precious metals trader in Hong Kong.
“With violence also increasing, we can see gains at least in the
short term.”
The crippling four-month miners’ strike in South Africa
could last much longer, the chief executive of Impala Platinum
said, adding that feedback from initial court-mediated talks
with the world’s biggest producers and main mining union was
The strike is the longest and costliest industrial action in
the mining history of South Africa, the biggest producer of
platinum and the second biggest producer of palladium.
It has grown increasingly violent as growing numbers of
workers have attempted to return to work though the unions are
pressing for more strikes.
A member of South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers was
stabbed to death on his way to work at an Anglo American
Platinum mine, the union said on Thursday, the fifth
such killing in the past two weeks.
Spot gold was trading steady at $1,294.30 an ounce by
0656 GMT and was headed for a flat week.
“Gold has been trapped in a very compressed range for well
over a month, but we suspect that we could see a substantial
move in the days ahead once the Ukrainian elections are over,”
INTL FCStone said in a note.
Ukraine said more than a dozen servicemen were killed on
Thursday in an early morning clash with pro-Russian separatists,
fuelling security concerns ahead of a presidential election on
Sunday seen as crucial for its fragile democracy.
Gold, seen as a safe-haven asset, has been buoyed by rising
tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine, gaining about
7 percent this year.
In the physical side, premiums in top buyer China remained
steady at about $2 an ounce.

Metal            Last    Change  Pct chg

Spot gold        1294.3    0.8    0.06
Spot silver        19.47    0.01    0.05
Spot platinum    1485.3    0.3    0.02
Spot palladium      834    1.6    0.19
Comex gold        1294.5    -0.5    -0.04
Comex silver      19.48  -0.04    -0.2
Euro              1.3644
DXY              80.257

COMEX gold and silver contracts show the
most active months