Platinum Prices Recover

January 19, 2000

Platinum Prices Recover

World platinum prices rebounded to nearly their 1999 year-end high of $448 per ounce nearly two weeks after Russia's Jan. 6 decision to re-enter the world market caused prices to plunge.

On Jan. 19, platinum was quoted at $438 ($443 on the spot market), up from the previous day's close at $435.50/$440.50, according to Reuters. Previously, prices had fallen as low as $388.10 immediately after Russia's acting president, Vladimir Putin, signed legislation to re-commence exports. Russia's platinum exports were inadvertently stalled throughout most of 1999 by a Russian law blocking them.

Traditionally the world's No. 2 producer of platinum, Russia's year-long absence from the market drove prices to a two-year high in December. After falling in the wake of the Y2K fizzle and Russia's re-entry into the market, spot prices recovered to $425 an ounce on Jan. 14. The trend seems to confirm the opinion of that resumed Russian exports would be absorbed by rising world demand.

"The Russian quantities are manageable and can be absorbed by the market," Barry Davison, CEO of Anglo American Platinum Corp., told Reuters. "Fundamentals are in favor of continuing good markets for precious group metals." Davison estimated Russian platinum supply for this year – current production and 1999 output not sold – at 1-1.25 million ounces. Russia supplied 1.3 million ounces in 1998.

- by Mark E. Dixon