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Dropped Platinum Demand Contributes to Weaker Markets

2004: Dropped Platinum Demand vs. Raised Diamond Prices

June 2004

We recently attended the Johnson Matthey Platinum 2004 breakfast, that accompanies the publication of the Johnson Matthey Platinum 2004 annual report. Last year, the Diamond Registry reported Johnson Matthey’s prediction that the price of platinum will rise in 2003, possibly to $690. Instead, it went far beyond that, to a 24-year high of $937. This year, they predict the price will possibly fall as low as $720, and never go past $920.

The survey also noted growing demand for palladium. We think more manufacturers will use it in the years to come, given its reasonable price.

Some of the information we found little puzzling. Johnson Matthey writes that demand from the global demand for jewelry dropped 13%, with China one of the weaker markets. This contradicts everything De Beers has said about last year. They said that diamond jewelry demand rose around the world, particularly in China. Granted the two markets are not the same, but they both involve jewelry. Should there be such a divergence?

One thing to consider: The report says that platinum demand dropped because of the metal’s high price. That’s something our trade may want to keep in mind, as diamond prices spiral upwards.


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