We recently attended the Johnson Matthey “Platinum 2003” meeting at the Barclay Hotel. While in the past, it seemed that the platinum market was shrinking, now the news is better. For jewelers the important news from the breakfast meeting is that the increase in supply from platinum mines is not keeping pace with demand, and therefore Johnson Matthey expects that the platinum price strength will continue in 2003, and possibly hit between $590 and $690 for the rest of 2003. It has already risen from $481 at the start of 2002 to $607 in December to a 23-year-high of $705 in March 2003.
Demand for platinum grew by 5% to a new high of 6.54 million ounces in 2002. The demand was driven by strong sales to the Chinese jewelry market. Demand for platinum from the global jewelry industry grew by 5% to a new high of 6.54 million ounces. But Johnson Matthey expects demand for platinum to flatten or soften moderately in 2003, with Chinese jewelry demand weakened by the high price and the after-shocks from SARS.