‘As hydrogen availability rises and its production cost falls, fuel-cell vehicles are likely to require over a million more ounces of platinum a year in 10 years’
TREVOR Raymond replaced the World Platinum Investment Council’s (WPIC’s) founding CEO, Paul Wilson, in September last year after serving as its research boffin since inception. And there’s little Raymond doesn’t know about platinum, having dealt in the metal’s fortunes for more than 20 years. The challenge, however, is convincing the market of platinum’s investment case, including its producers, it would seem. Sibanye-Stillwater pulled out of the council in 2019, saying platinum’s future lay in industry rather than investment. And, it argued, there’s a basket of platinum group metals to consider, not just platinum.
In truth, Raymond always speaks of platinum investment in its broadest terms. He sees in the adoption of hydrogen technology a potentially huge source of future demand. But he’s also long supported the notion that autocatalyst demand will remain strong as the market continues to use internal combustion engines for longer than some have forecast. In addition, platinum usage in autocatalysis will increase given the growing cost of sister metal palladium. What’s missed, however, is that platinum isn’t recognised as a store of wealth in China as it is in South Africa. As a result, the WPIC sees enormous growth in the world’s second-largest economy after the US.
Tie-ups with refiners and marketers to produce bespoke platinum investment products in bar and coin form are part of this strategy. For 2023, the WPIC anticipates a 300,000-ounce supply deficit in platinum, representing a 1.1 million oz year-on-year turnaround in its fortunes. This is largely owing to supply constraints, especially in South Africa, where power cuts, staffing problems and maintenance programmes are forecast to weigh heavily.
LIFE OF TREVOR
Raymond has been at the WPIC since its launch in 2014, originally leading the organisation’s global research and investor development team. Prior to that he led commodity research and market development at Anglo American Platinum in London, having run the company’s investor relations brief in Johannesburg. He began his working life as a graduate engineer at Randfontein Estates, a gold miner, before moving to JCI, a diversified mining company controlled by Anglo American.