* Hall sees platinum, palladium rising further - letter
* Oil veteran says minor returns on crude in Jan
* Sees 'potential for significant gains' in oil
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, Feb 6 Veteran oil trader Andy Hall's
$5 billion commodities hedge fund made its highest monthly gain
since November, after a surge in platinum group metals prices,
the fund said in a monthly letter to investors.
The Westport, Connecticut-based Astenbeck Capital Management
run by Hall rose more than 4 percent in January to extend its
3.4 percent annual gain for 2012, the fund said.
"January has turned out to be a good month for most risky
assets and our portfolio has benefited accordingly," the
61-year-old Hall wrote in the letter dated Feb. 1 and seen by
Reuters on Wednesday.
Known for his focus on oil in his monthly letters, Hall
attributed the fund's return to rallying platinum and palladium
-- collectively known as platinum group metals (PGMs), which are
used in jewelry and auto catalytic converters.
Hall said he anticipated PGMs will rise further after last
month's rally. Platinum had its best month in a year in
January, rising 9 percent.
"PGM prices have rallied significantly in recent weeks but
we believe they have much further to travel," Hall said.
"Accordingly, we maintain a significant exposure to PGMs and in
particular to palladium."
PGMs have soared in value since the middle of last year due
to concerns about shrinking output and on expectations of robust
Platinum had its best month in a year in January,
rising 9 percent and hit a 17-month peak at $1,740 an ounce on
Wednesday due to concerns over output from the world's top
producer South Africa.
Palladium was up 5 percent in January and reached its
loftiest level since September 2011 on Wednesday at $769.5 an
Hall said longer-dated oil still represented his portfolio's
biggest exposure, although those positions only made a
"relatively modest contribution" to the overall return.
Benchmark Brent crude oil rose 4 percent in January.
For February, it is up 1 percent, trading at above $116 a
"We actually take comfort from this since it means that
despite a brisk start to the year there exists the potential for
significant gains still to come," he said.