Platinum market records 375 000 oz deficit in 2012 – by Idéle Esterhuizen (MiningWeekly.com – May 13, 2013)

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JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The global platinum market experienced a deficit of 375 000 oz in 2012, owing to a steep decline in output from South Africa, platinum group metals authority Johnson Matthey’s ‘Platinum 2013’ report has revealed.

Published on Monday, the report found that primary platinum supply fell by 13% to 5.64-million ounces, its lowest level in twelve years. Total platinum demand for the year was down by 0.6% to 8.05-million ounces, while recycled platinum came to 2.03-million ounces, marginally less than in 2011.

Platinum recycling from end-of-life autocatalysts fell in Europe and North America, while the price of platinum averaged $1 552/oz in 2012, $169 lower than in 2011, prompting collectors to hoard stock, while awaiting better price opportunities.

However, the decline in recovery from this source was partly offset by greater recycling of platinum jewellery scrap in China. Platinum shipments by South African producers slumped by 16% to 4.1-million ounces during the year under review, with at least 750 000 oz of production lost to strikes, safety stoppages and the closure of some marginal mining operations.

Meanwhile, gross demand for platinum in autocatalysts rose by 1.7% to 3.24-million ounces. Weak European demand for platinum, dragged down by depressed light vehicle output and a lower market share for diesel vehicles, was offset by higher demand in Asia and North America and by increasing demand for platinum autocatalysts for nonroad diesel engines.

Gross global jewellery demand for platinum improved by 12% to 2.78-million ounces in 2012, boosted by the expansion of the retail jewellery distribution network in China.

Industrial demand for platinum fell by 21% to 1.57-million ounces during the year, affected by a slowing of expansion in the glass industry, reduced production of hard disk drives in the electrical industry and the drawdown of inventory in both sectors. Chemical demand was slightly lower than in 2011, while demand for platinum in other applications was stable.

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