LEADING metal analysts across the region agree today's gold market may be slow but speculating in other precious metals markets, like platinum and palladium, could be a great venture for investors seeking alternatives to stocks and bonds. James Morrison, head of the Union Bank of Switzerland's (UBS) Commodity Risk Management Department, said the metals market in Asia was driven largely by manufacturing needs. In addition, gold, a favourite among traders for centuries, had suffered a price slump during the past 15 years. Still, Mr Morrison urged investors not to fear what had long been an extremely stable commodity. 'Gold doesn't have a good track record over the past two or three years,' he said. 'But it does deserve a serious look at this stage.' Mr Morrison said the best method for purchasing gold was to open a metal account at a bank. These accounts varied widely, including the types of transactions customers could access. The Hongkong Bank offered numerous gold accounts which allowed clients to participate in pool buying and selling of gold. UBS and other major private banks also offered various types of metal trading accounts, often allowing customers to buy gold at present or future prices, or in groups. A number of 'obscure' and manufacturing metals were attracting serious attention in Asia and were sold on the local markets. These included silver, platinum, palladium, copper and aluminum. Mr Morrison said the demand for some of these metals fluctuated more than gold because of mining and manufacturing issues affecting supply.