May 18, 2009
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China jewellery sales boost platinum demand

May 18, 2009

LONDON, May 18, 2009 - China's hunger for jewellery is boosting demand for platinum at a time when the metal is being hit by the ailing auto sector, metals consultancy Johnson Matthey said in an annual report released Monday 18 May.

Platinum and its sister metal palladium are used to make jewellery as well as catalytic converters in vehicles.

"While demand for platinum from the automotive and industrial sectors remains poor, purchases by China's jewellery industry and by investors have offset this weakness to date in 2009," Johnson Matthey said in its study.

"Global platinum supplies are forecast to rise marginally in 2009 compared to the previous year. Johnson Matthey expects that supply and demand will be more closely matched in 2009 than in 2008 and that the price of platinum will be much less volatile.

"Any improvement in the economic environment could help drive platinum as high as 1,350 (dollars an ounce) within the next six months.

"In any case, platinum should derive good support from physical buying in Asia and from its strong longer-term fundamentals and is expected to trade above 950 (dollars) during the same period," the consultancy said.

Johnson Matthey added that palladium was expected to trade between 180 and 280 dollars an ounce during the next six months.

"Although palladium demand increased during 2008, purchases are now being affected by the weakness in the global economy: autocatalyst demand for palladium is forecast to fall below 2008 levels and industrial demand remains soft.

"While physical investment and jewellery demand could show some growth, overall demand is expected to fall in 2009," it added.

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