Palladium could be the next cab off the rank after nickel, as Russian sanctions would also heavily disrupt supply. Combine that with mine strikes in South Africa, falling inventories, and growing demand and the markets should be in deficit this year. ETFS: While above-ground stockpiles have so far limited any potential price upside, PGMs appear well positioned to benefit from the recent stock drawdowns and the improvement in the global business cycle. Auto sales in the US, China and Europe, the three biggest regions by consumption, have shown signs of improvement, with combined sales up 12% in the first four months of 2014 on the previous year. As of end of April 2014, Thomson Reuters GFMS expected both platinum and palladium to be in a substantial physical deficit, equal to 0.7moz and 1.3moz respectively.