London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 May 2008 – Platinum prices are likely to be about 50% higher this year than in 2007, as production problems in South Africa and growing demand for auto-catalysts boost the metal, a Reuters global poll showed yesterday.
A poll of 21 analysts and traders forecast a median 2008 price of US$2 000 an ounce, and $2 100 in 2009, for platinum. “The predicted figure for this year compares with the metal’s average price of US$1,304 in 2007,” Reuters reports, “and is more than 30% higher than a similar poll conducted in January.”
Platinum hit a record of US$2 290 an ounce in March, following power cuts in South Africa that forced mines to shut for five days. Some mines in the country – which accounts for 80% of global output – are still operating below full electricity supply.
The metal slipped to a one-month low of US$1 821 in early May, before rising again to around US$2 140 an ounce this week. Prices are still nearly 40% higher than at the start of 2008.
“On the supply side, the major risk remains South African mining production. The structural problems with power supply are not being resolved in the short run,” reports Reuters, quoting Peter Fertig, metals consultant at Dresdner Kleinwort investment bank.
Anglo American Plc , the world’s fourth-biggest mining group, has reported weaker first-quarter output of platinum as it battles power cuts, strikes and floods.
“Out of our five precious metals covered, we remain most bullish for platinum,” said Edel Tully, metals analyst at Mitsui Global Precious Metals. “We believe that the metal can eclipse its record high of US$2 290 and trade up to US$2 500 this year,” he added.