Johnson Matthey’s authoritative survey of the supply and demand of the platinum group metals and future forecasts, “Platinum 2001”, was published in May.
Demand for platinum in 2000 was slightly up on the record level for 1999, but the pattern of consumption was different from recent years. The largest growth sector was the auto industry where demand increased by 230,000 oz to 1.84 million oz. In Europe platinum sales to auto makers reached 640,000 oz, with almost one third being for diesel engines, and this, coupled with increased platinum loadings following the imposition of Euro Stage III emissions regulations, boosted platinum use. In North America the major part of the increased platinum demand came from stock building by auto companies expecting in the future to replace palladium by platinum.
Industrial demand for platinum rose by 8 per cent to 1.45 million oz, with increased use in computer hard disks and in plant for the production of speciality glass, such as LCD glass. Other areas with increased demand were sensors in cars, spark plugs, biomedical and dental applications, and turbine blade coatings.
China is now the largest platinum jewellery market, demand there exceeding 1 million oz for the first time, while Japan experienced a 20 per cent fall in its platinum jewellery market.
Supplies of platinum rose by 9 per cent as a doubling of Russian sales outweighed a decline in output from western mines.
World palladium demand fell by 5 per cent to 8.9 million oz, but did not prevent the price rising to unprecedented levels. From a low of $440 at the beginning of 2000, the price rose to approach $1000 in December and breached this in January 2001. Demand from car makers fell by 4 per cent to 5.65 million oz as stocks were adjusted. However, actual palladium consumption in catalysts fitted to cars and trucks manufactured in 2000 rose by 24 per cent to meet the increasingly stringent emissions legislation throughout the world.
Dental demand for palladium fell by 26 per cent to 820,000 oz but demand from electronics rose by 8 per cent due to increased production of multi-layer ceramic capacitors. Total palladium supplies declined by 3 per cent as Russian shipments fell back to 5.2 million oz. Western sales were marginally lower than in 1999. A special report in “Platinum 2001” describes new and expanding mining in Canada, the U.S.A. and Zimbabwe.
Readers wishing to receive a copy of “Platinum 2001” should contact: Johnson Matthey PLC, 40–42 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8EE, U.K.; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Fax: +44 (0)20 7269 8389; or website: www.platinum.matthey.com.