Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 30 March 2010 – Platinum demand may increase more rapidly this year than previously expected, supporting the price of the metal, according to Anglo Platinum CEO Neville Nicolau.
“We think that the price will go up actually quite nicely,” Nicolau told Bloomberg News here in an interview. “The price is likely to err on the high side rather than the low side,” he added.
Platinum has increased 45% to US$1 625 an ounce in London trading in the past year, as a global economic recovery boosted demand for the metal.
“We think that demand is going to increase possibly faster than we forecast,” Nicolau said. “So we’re trying to prepare ourselves with some flexibility to be able to deliver on the upside, rather than flexibility to close down production.”
Anglo Platinum “’ the world’s biggest producer “’ produced 2.4 million ounces of refined platinum last year when it shut three shafts, and plans to produce 2.5 million ounces this year.
“We are seeing increasing demand for the product,” Nicolau said. “What’s more important is the change in mix of the demand. We’re seeing now that automobile and industrial use is increasing, and because of that the price has actually been quite solid.”
Demand for auto-catalysts accounted for about 42%, or 2.48 million ounces of global platinum demand last year, according to figures on Johnson Matthey’s Web site.