By Joice Chademana
Global refined platinum production is forecast to fall by four percent to 5 850 ounces in 2018 mainly driven by reduced output from the world’s biggest producers, Russia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
According to the World Platinum Investment Council fourth quarter report, production from Zimbabwe fell by nine percent to 445 000 ounces, with processing of pipeline material boosting the total for the previous year.
North American supply decreased eight percent to 365 000 ounces as a Canadian producer transitioned to using a single furnace. Output from Russia remained flat at 715 000 ounces in 2017
South Africa’s platinum supply is forecast to decrease by four percent to 4 175 ounces with last year’s mine closures removing a little over 50 ounces in 2018, and fewer ounces expected from pipeline releases and smelter clean-up projects which allowed some producers to exceed guidance in 2017.
Global platinum supply is forecast to be 7 815 ounces this year, a contraction of two percent from 2017, despite an anticipated increase in recycling of 60 000 ounces to 1 965 ounces, as total mining supply is expected to decline by four percent to 5 850 ounces mostly owing to reduced output from South Africa following some mine closures in 2017 and lower production in Russia.
Supply from North America and Zimbabwe is expected to remain stable in 2018, at 370 000 ounces and 450 000 ounces respectively, while production from Russia could fall by around four percent to 685 000 ounces as further refinery upgrade work may result in a small pipeline lock-up.
“Auto-catalyst recycling is expected to be buoyed by high Platinum Group Metals prices encouraging the collection of scrapped catalysts,” said the fourth quarter report released by the World Platinum Investment Council.
According to WPIC, global demand is projected to grow marginally in 2018 to 7,790 ounces, as a recovery in industrial demand (+100 000 ounces) and an increase in jewellery demand (+45 000 ounces) outweigh a decline in automotive demand (-110 000 ounces) and slightly lower investment demand (-10 000 ounces).
Platinum auto-catalyst demand is forecast to continue the current slow decline, down three percent year-on-year to 3 285 ounces in 2018 from 3 395 ounces in 2017.
Diesel car shares seem unlikely to recover in Western Europe, though the industry is very clear that diesel engines will continue to offer lower carbon dioxide emissions, particularly for larger and higher
mileage vehicles, and hence must remain a significant part of the Western European light vehicle market.
“Automakers are positioning now to meet the 2021 target of 95g/km carbon dioxide emissions or face substantial fines, and the reversal of the year-on-year fall in vehicle carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 helps to reinforce the importance of diesel in the power train mix,” said the report.