Strikes at South African mines have coincided with the sudden resignation of Aquarius Platinum's CEO. Stuart Murray has not offered any comments on his motives. But it seems clear that the situation in the country's mining sector is escalating.
After weeks of sailing on troubled waters, the silver market is giving mixed signals. Analysts are struggling to discern whether or not the metal will be able to consolidate above resistance at $28.50, or whether silver is still in danger of further sell-offs.
It is unlikely that platinum will experience another sales flood in the short term - despite Japan's situation and other such pressures. Platinum and palladium prices are dependent on industrial demand and their prices follow global economy cycles.
Another overnight period of tight trading ranges and agonizingly slow business unfolded ahead of Thursday's New York session opening. Gold was confined to an $1,162.50-$1,170.40 price channel but gyrated mainly around the $1,165 figure.