Palladium roared to a 17-year high yesterday, as a lack of exports from Russia forced monthly borrowing rates to as high as 100 per cent, analysts said. The shortage of the metal, which is used in electronics and dentistry, sent prices rocketing to US$208 an ounce at the afternoon fix, against its previous close of $188.50. Platinum, which is affected by the same factors, also jumped, fixing in the afternoon at a 16-month high of $419 an ounce, compared with $405 at the previous close. Normal borrowing rates for platinum and palladium are 2 to 3 per cent, but yesterday platinum was quoted at 50 per cent, dealers said. Union Bank of Switzerland precious metals analyst Andy Smith said players were indulging in a borrowing binge before the price fell sharply again when Russian exports resumed. Precious metals exports from the world's largest producer of palladium have been slow all year due to administrative delays. Shipments are understood to be resuming on June 20 and should spark heavy selling. 'People are willing to pay these sorts of interest rates because they believe that Russian palladium exports will send the price lower,' Mr Smith said. More price swings are expected as negotiations continue between the Russian exporter, Almaz, and Japanese consumers. Gold ignored the others, fixing at $341.75 an ounce yesterday afternoon in London, up only 40 cents from the previous evening.