It is unusual to see the metal trading at a discount to the gold price. Apparently some of the hedge funds have taken notice and are moving into platinum especially as news filters out of a strike in a large South African mine owned by Impala.
Platinum, while often viewed as a precious metal, is greatly affected by economic news due to the fact that it is also an industrial metal used largely in the automotive exhaust systems. Obviously any news that is considered bearish for overall global growth tends to depress its price. Conversely, a growing global economy in which consumers worldwide opt to buy new cars, is bullish for the metal.
As such, platinum has been greatly impacted by the risk off or risk on trades. Notice how it responded to the QE I and QEII programs with the former beginning in late 2008 and the latter kicking back in during 2010. Then look at what happened to it in late 2011 when investors were watching European woes proliferating with what seemed like not much of a Central Bank response at the time.
That all changed at the beginning of 2012. Near zero interest rates and the expectation that the Central Banks would be keeping this environment intact for the foreseeable future have now combined with supply related issues and are driving the metal higher with strong showings the last two sessions in particular and the first two months of this year.