Platinum marks new six-year high as recovery, Covid-19 set to widen supply deficit

THE prospect of economic recovery and fears that Covid-19 will continue to disrupt supply from South Africa had taken the price of platinum to a new six-year high, said Reuters.

“The economic recovery play, including a recovery in Chinese jewellery demand in 2021, with concerns that South Africa supplies will remain vulnerable to the COVID-19,” is driving prices, Nicholas Frappell, global general manager at ABC Bullion, told the newswire.

Platinum, used by the automotive industry to filter emissions from engine exhausts, rose to its highest since January 2015 at $1,285.17 an ounce. It was up 2.1% at $1,279.12/oz in early morning UK trade.

“Further price targets on the upside extend to $1,330 and $1,577,” said Frappell.

Platinum may see a third consecutive annual deficit in 2021, said Reuters which cited Johnson Matthey, a platinum research firm and semi-fabricator.

Analysts said US President Joe Biden’s push for greener policies as well as a global tightening of auto emission rules were also boosting prices.

Three of the world’s largest platinum group metal (PGM) producers are due to report their interim and full-year numbers this month which are likely to demonstrate the effects of robust pricing for platinum, as well as palladium and rhodium.

Impala Platinum will post more than a fourfold increase in interim headline share earnings of between 1,812 to 1,899 cents, according to a recent trading statement whilst Anglo American Platinum, due to report numbers on February 22, said full-year share earnings would rise between 49% and 69% year-on-year.

The first PGM producer to report will be Sibanye-Stillwater on February 18. It said it expected to report a full-year attributable profit of up to R30bn for its 2020 financial year, a significant improvement over the R62m it reported in 2019.

The company also produces gold.