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FILE PHOTO: Ingots of 99.98 percent pure platinum are seen at the Krastsvetmet non-ferrous metals plant in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Manzyuk

Platinum facing biggest deficit in years as carmakers snap up metal


Platinum facing biggest deficit in years as carmakers snap up metal

LONDON (Reuters) – Rising demand from automakers, industry and investors will push the global platinum market into its biggest deficit in years, three industry reports predicted on Monday.

The reports underline an emerging change in fortunes for platinum and its sister metal palladium, both used chiefly in vehicle exhausts to neutralise harmful engine emissions.

For years, rising demand and undersupply of palladium pushed prices higher, while lacklustre consumption and more plentiful availability kept platinum prices low.

Two of Monday’s reports predicted that while palladium would remain in deficit this year, platinum’s undersupply would be bigger.

Automakers are now shifting from palladium to platinum to save money, production of platinum-intensive heavy-duty vehicles is rising, and exhaust-free electric vehicles are making inroads into the palladium-focused light vehicle market.

Also supporting platinum are consumption by industry and jewellers, while palladium demand depends almost entirely on autos.

Palladium prices have fallen sharply in recent months, while platinum prices show signs of recovery.

Specialist materials maker Johnson Matthey said the roughly 8 million ounce a year platinum market would be undersupplied by 128,000 ounces this year, the first deficit since 2020 and a major shift from last year’s surplus of 740,000 ounces.

The World Platinum Investment Council predicted a 983,000-ounce platinum deficit – the biggest since at least 2014 – after last year’s surplus of 854,000 ounces.

Consultants Metals Focus forecast a 953,000-ounce platinum undersupply, up from just 53,000 ounces in 2022.

The forecasts use slightly different methodology, with Metals Focus excluding platinum bought or sold by exchange-traded funds.

JM also predicts a rise in supply of both platinum and palladium this year, which Metals Focus and the WPIC do not.

For the roughly 10 million ounce a year palladium market, JM predicted a deficit of 43,000 ounces this year, down from 531,000 ounces in 2022.

Metals Focus, however, foresees the deficit rising to 707,000 ounces from 547,000 ounces last year.

Following are numbers and comparisons from Johnson Matthey’s report.

PLATINUM (THOUSANDS OF OUNCES)

2022 2023 % change

SUPPLY

Primary supply (mined) 5,530 5,808 5%

Secondary supply (recycled) 1,468 1,521 4%

TOTAL SUPPLY 6,998 7,329 5%

 

DEMAND

Automotive 2,762 3,063 11%

Chemical 699 697 0%

Dental & biomedical 253 257 2%

Electrical & electronics 235 266 13%

Glass 594 565 -5%

Investment -565 283

Jewellery 1,344 1,351 1%

Petroleum 230 213 -7%

Pollution control 223 260 17%

Other 483 502 4%

TOTAL DEMAND 6,258 7,457 19%

 

Movement in stocks 740 -128

PALLADIUM (THOUSANDS OF OUNCES)

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2022 2023 % change

SUPPLY

Primary supply (mined) 6,307 6,556 4%

Secondary supply (recycled) 3,099 3,234 4%

TOTAL SUPPLY 9,406 9,790 4%

 

DEMAND

Automotive 8,449 8,251 -2%

Chemical 589 534 -9%

Dental & biomedical 186 171 -8%

Electrical & electronics 544 545 0%

Investment -109 25

Jewellery 87 88 1%

Pollution control 108 123 14%

Other 83 96 16%

TOTAL DEMAND 9,937 9,833 -1%

 

Movement in stocks -531 -43

RHODIUM (THOUSANDS OF OUNCES)

2022 2023 % change

SUPPLY

Primary supply (mined) 695 724 4%

Secondary supply (recycled) 338 345 2%

TOTAL SUPPLY 1033 1069 3%

 

DEMAND

Automotive 953 947 -1%

Chemical 66 82 24%

Electrical & electronics 5 6 20%

Glass -41 5

Other 15 15 0%

TOTAL DEMAND 998 1055 6%

 

Movement in stocks 35 14

Source: Johnson Matthey

 

(Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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