The price of platinum declined 8% in March to reach $563 by month’s end. Platinum’s position has been compromised by an overspill of negative sentiment from the palladium market. A combination of improved palladium supply and weak demand has forced the price of platinum’s sister metal to fall by approximately 10% over the month.
The past month has seen differing activity in the jewelry markets of the Far East. Demand has been weak in Japan, whose economy continues to falter. Conversely, in China, the weaker price of platinum has stimulated demand for platinum. In terms of supply, the situation has become a little clearer: From the middle of March, it was apparent that Russian President Putin had signed export quotas for platinum in 2001, and this weighed on the price.
With palladium consistently available, and demand from the electronics sector weak in response to the downturn in that industry, the price began to slide further. An announcement by U.S.-based Catalytic Solutions Inc (CSI), a manufacturer working with Honda, added to the negative market sentiment. CSI announced that it had produced a catalyst for a Honda model in Japan, which required a significantly reduced amount of platinum group metals.
The outlook for platinum group metal prices in the near future will remain uncertain until the precise level of Russian exports and the direction of the world economy become clear.