PRECIOUS-Economic recovery bets push platinum to over six-year peak

* Platinum remains vulnerable to South African supplies - dealer

* Benchmark U.S. yields rose to highest since March on Friday

* Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: (Adds graphics, updates prices)

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Platinum prices extended a rally on Monday to scale their highest in more than six years on firmer investor expectations that an economic recovery would boost demand for the auto-catalyst metal and lead to a supply shortfall.

Platinum, used by the auto industry to filter emissions from engine exhausts, rose to its highest since January 2015 at $1,285.17 an ounce. It was up 1.9% at $1,276.44 by 0746 GMT.

“The economic recovery play, including a recovery in Chinese jewellery demand in 2021, with concerns that South Africa supplies will remain vulnerable to the COVID-19,” is driving prices, said Nicholas Frappell, global general manager at ABC Bullion.

“Further price targets on the upside extend to $1,330 and 1,577.”

Platinum may see a third consecutive annual deficit in 2021, according to specialist materials firm Johnson Matthey.

Analysts said U.S. President Joe Biden’s push for greener policies as well as a global tightening of auto emission rules were also boosting prices.

Operational issues in Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) , one of the world’s largest platinum producers, that contributed to a supply deficit last year also remained a concern.

Spot gold eased 0.4% to $1,816.50 per ounce as U.S. Treasury yields jumped to a near 11-month peak on Friday. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.4% to $1,816.60.

“The safe-haven status of gold is not holding as much shine as it once did, while we’ve a lot of optimism around economic growth,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Bond markets are indicating that the central bank’s accommodative stance will diminish this year, and that is negative for gold, McCarthy said.

Higher yields increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Silver gained 0.1% to $27.37 and palladium eased 0.3% to $2,382.07.

Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Gavin Maguire; Editing by Devika Syamnath, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Vinay Dwivedi