As prices increased sharply in 2000, platinum jewelry demand worldwide fell for the first time in 17 years, in large part due to a weakened economy in Japan, one of the largest markets for platinum jewelry, according to Platinum 2001, an annual report on platinum supply and demand compiled by Johnson Mathey.
A decrease in platinum jewelry fabrication in Japan was attributed to an increase in the recycling of old jewelry and a loss of market share to white gold. Japanese demand for platinum fell 20%.
According to Johnson Mathey, while demand for platinum jewelry continues to grow in the United States, the economic deceleration is expected to slow growth in 2001. Sales were up 15% in 2000.
Platinum prices, meanwhile, soared to a 13-year high of $645 in January. The steep price increase is attributed to a supply shortfall of 310,000 oz–caused largely by floods and strikes among South African mines. Platinum is forecasted to trade between $550 and $625 throughout much of 2001.