Platinum-related ETFs surged Wednesday as China considers loosening restrictions on vehicle purchases in an attempt to stimulate growth amid ongoing troubles over the trade war with the U.S.
Among the best performing ETFs of Wednesday, the Aberdeen Standard Platinum Shares ETF (NYSEArca: PPLT) increased 3.9% and the GraniteShares Platinum Trust (PLTM) added 3.8% while the platinum spot price was 3.8% higher to $898.9 per ounce.
Platinum is primarily used in catalytic converters in diesel-powered automobiles, but environmental concerns previously tamped down demand for the precious metal. As such, the price of platinum has fallen over the years amid weaker demand and excess supply, whereas gold and silver have found safe-haven support on an increasingly dovish Federal Reserve monetary policy outlook and palladium benefited from cars that run on gasoline.
However, the Chinese State Council said local governments that have restrictions in place on auto sales should consider relaxing or even removing those curbs, Automotive News reports.
China’s economy weakened more sharply than expected at the beginning of the third quarter as the trade dispute with the United States weighed on both businesses and consumers. The Chinese economy already saw second-quarter economic growth slip to a near three-decade low.
Among the contributing factors that have weighed on China’s growth, the automobile sector has suffered through falling demand, with overall car sales declining for a 13th consecutive month in July.
Beijing could roll out further stimulus measures to help support its ailing economy in the months ahead, including steps such as easing restrictions on automobiles to induce greater consumer consumption.
“China data weakness will likely be more visible in August and September, and policymakers will likely lean towards more intensive easing,” analysts at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note. “We expect policy loosening to resume in infrastructure investment, consumption stimulus and monetary easing.”
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