Platinum market set for ­biggest surplus in at least six years

08 March 2019 | Business

Peter Hobson



The global platinum market will see its largest surplus since at least 2013 this year, the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) said this week.

In its latest Platinum Quarterly report, the WPIC forecast an oversupply of 680 000 ounces in 2019 after a surplus of 645 000 ounces last year.

It said consumption of platinum would increase by 5% - the first increase since 2015 - to 7.74 million ounces in 2019 thanks to resurgent demand from investors.

But supply will rise slightly faster, it said, largely due to the release on to the market of material accumulated by mines in South Africa, the biggest producer, during upgrades and maintenance over 2017 and 2018.

The platinum market flipped from a deep deficit earlier this decade to a surplus and prices of around US$840 an ounce remain close to 10-year lows reached in August last year.

Consumption by industry, auto makers and jewellery manufacturers will fall this year, but the pace of decline from the auto sector - the largest source of platinum demand – will slow from previous years, the miner-funded WPIC said.

Platinum and sister metal palladium are used in emissions-cutting autocatalysts, but platinum is used more in diesel engines whose popularity plummeted after Volkswagen was found to have cheated emissions tests in 2015.

The WPIC said diesel engine sales were stabilising and tightening emissions regulation would support platinum demand.

– Nampa/Reuters

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