March 6, 2019 / 6:02 AM / in 2 months

Platinum market set for biggest surplus in at least 6 years - WPIC

    * Oversupply seen at 680,000 oz this year
    * Investors to drive first rise in demand since 2015
    * Supply to receive one-off boost from South African mines

    By Peter Hobson
    LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - The global platinum market will
see its largest surplus since at least 2013 this year, the World
Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) said on Wednesday. 
    In its latest Platinum Quarterly report, the WPIC forecast
an oversupply of 680,000 ounces in 2019 after a surplus of
645,000 ounces last year.
    It said consumption of platinum would increase by 5 percent
-- the first increase since 2015 -- to 7.74 million ounces in
2019 thanks to resurgent demand from investors.
    But supply will rise slightly faster, it said, largely due
to the release on to the market of material accumulated by mines
in South Africa, the biggest producer, during upgrades and
maintenance over 2017 and 2018.
        
    
    The platinum market flipped from a deep deficit earlier this
decade to a surplus and prices of around $840 an ounce
remain close to 10-year lows reached in August last year.
    Consumption by industry, auto makers and jewellery
manufacturers will fall this year, but the pace of decline from
the auto sector -- the largest source of platinum demand - will
slow from previous years, the miner-funded WPIC said.
    Platinum and sister metal palladium are used in
emissions-cutting autocatalysts, but platinum is used more in
diesel engines whose popularity plummeted after Volkswagen was
found to have cheated emissions tests in 2015. 
    The WPIC said diesel engine sales were stabilising and
tightening emissions regulation would support platinum demand. 
    
  PLATINUM SUPPLY/DEMAND ('000 oz)*         
                            2019(f)       2018   % change
 Mine supply                  6,460      6,100         6%
 Recycling                    1,960      1,910         3%
 TOTAL SUPPLY                 8,420      8,010         5%
                                                         
 Automotive demand            3,000      3,100        -3%
 Jewellery demand             2,325      2,355        -1%
 Industrial demand            1,885      1,895        -1%
 Investment                     530         15      3433%
 TOTAL DEMAND                 7,740      7,365         5%
                                                         
 Balance                        680        645         5%
 Above-ground stocks          3,495      2,815        24%
    * Source: World Platinum Investment Council, Platinum
Quarterly Q4 2018
 

    
 (Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
  
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