Even with a modest decline Monday, the ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (NYSEArca: PALL) is up more than 3% in the past week.

Over the month leading up to Monday’s trading session, PALL, the lone U.S.-listed ETF solely backed by holdings of physical palladium, had surged 9%. That is a sign palladium futures and PALL are in the midst of the breakout that many market observers and traders had previously called for.[Palladium ETF Could Break Out]

Russia’s conflict with Ukraine is proving to be a positive catalyst for palladium.

Concerns that Russia may face trade restrictions or restrict exports following its invasion of the Ukraine helped boost the palladium price 4.0% last week. Any restrictions on Russian palladium exports would exacerbate what is already expected to be a large palladium deficit in 2014,” according to a research note by ETF Securities.

Russia is the world’s largest palladium producer, but the country does not release stockpiles data, prompting some market observers to speculate that the country’s inventories are all but gone.

Late last year, analysts forecast a palladium market deficit for 2014, citing robust global auto demand. The white metal is a key component in the production of catalytic converters in automobiles manufactured in China and the U.S., the world’s two biggest auto markets. [More Upside Awaits Palladium ETF]