What is the Price Outlook for Platinum?
“After reaching an intraday high of $1,197 on 8 March, platinum prices slid lower over the remainder of the month. At the start of April, platinum prices were back down to levels seen in the middle of January, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, the market has come to realize that the war will result in little if any disruption to global platinum mine supply.
Already it is clear that the gains in platinum prices during early March were more a reaction to possible disruptions to Russian palladium mine supply than actual disruptions to Russian platinum supply. Russia accounts for roughly 40% of global palladium mine supply but accounts for “only” 11% of global platinum mine supply, a low market share in the minds of some (but not CPM). It is common, however, to see commodities that can even partially be substituted for one another to rise simultaneously.
The war will continue to provide downside support to prices; any news that suggests a threat to metals supply could quickly push platinum prices back to levels seen in early March or higher. Russia needs the foreign exchange earnings from PGM exports and the auto industry in North America, Europe, Japan, and South Korea need those metals to sell cars. As a result, neither Russia nor the coalition of ‘unfriendly nations’ should be expected to do anything to interrupt the flow of these metals from Russia.
That said, for now the market focus has shifted to rising interest rates and the ongoing disruption in chip supplies to the auto industry that is limiting the availability of vehicles. Both these factors are dampeners on demand for cars and trucks, which is expected to weigh on prices.
Platinum prices have some initial support around $940, with prices potentially falling lower if concerns about demand intensify. Prices are unlikely to fall below $880 with upcoming wage negotiations in South Africa providing some downside support to prices.
Commercial vehicle demand in major auto markets continued to weaken during February. Part of the reason for the sharp percentage declines can be attributed to a base effect where comparisons are being made with the early part of 2021 when demand had been rising at a healthy pace following a sharp decline during 2020.
The effect of omicron early in the year, a lack of vehicle inventory, and uncertainty related to inflation, interest rates, and the economic impact of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia are all factors that are likely to have caused businesses to pull back on spending. Most of these
factors still are a concern for businesses, which should continue to negatively impact commercial vehicle demand during March.”