PGM supply shock from South Africa in 2007; electric shock in 2008

 International Mining

GFMS has launched its Platinum & Palladium Survey 2008. This is the fifth major report on these markets by GFMS, the independent precious metals consultancy, well known for its annual Gold Survey and World Silver Survey. The dominant factor for platinum in 2007 was a sharp decline in global mine production. Output from South Africa (75% of global production) stumbled badly, as six years of uninterrupted growth were thrown into reverse. This was caused by a renewed zero-tolerance approach to mine-site fatalities, a prevailing shortage of skilled personnel, and industrial action over biennial wage talks and employee safety. The effects of these coincided with continuing strong demand for platinum, where a further contraction in jewellery was offset by other applications, chiefly autocatalyst. Therefore, driven by the fall in mine production, platinum was plunged back into a deficit of just over 200,000 oz at the underlying ‘gross’ level. The position is worsened at the residual level by the new effect of investment in exchange traded funds (ETFs). However, although this impacts prices and lease rates, GFMS questions whether this should be regarded as an element of platinum’s underlying fundamentals. (more…)

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