Platinum futures prices bounded higher Thursday on continuing fears that political strife in South Africa could abruptly interrupt the supply of the valuable metal.
Prices soared the daily limit of $25 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange before settling only slightly below the limit.
On some other markets, gold was pulled higher by platinum, soybean futures advanced and live cattle and hogs moved higher.
Prices had opened lower partly on reports of a large mineral find near Pretoria, which potentially could double the output of South Africa, the largest producer among non-Communist nations.
"But they (traders) only forgot that even if you started today, it would take three to five years to get any ore out of the ground," said Bill O'Neill, an analyst in New York with Elders Futures Inc.
But the mineral discovery soon was overwhelmed by a strong rally, which included good trade buying, he said.
"Then it was off to the races," he said, and platinum widened its gap to about $197 over gold.
While there was no fresh news to account for the rally, "there's almost a state of panic in the market," O'Neill said. "No one wants to be caught without materials."