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Trends for platinum group metals 2016-2017

Global – Platinum derived from the global autocat recycling initiative rose 3.9% in 2016 to 1.235 million ounces compared to the previous year, reports the World Platinum Investment Council. It is added that recycling of platinum from jewellery reached 625 000 ounces in 2016.

In terms of total annual platinum supplies, including both primary and secondary sources, autocatalyst recycling now accounts for 16% of the whole; palladium from salvage converters represents 23%; and rhodium from scrap autos totalled 28%.

WPIC also observed an easing in the amount of recovered platinum in the final quarter of 2016 by some 4.7% as prices moved lower.

Platinum prices averaged US$ 945 an ounce in the December quarter, down from an average US$ 988.40 an ounce for the entire year, both measured against the LME PM auction price. And yet, prices for platinum have rebounded in the first quarter of 2017 to an average of US$ 980. This is believed to encourage a greater number of end-of-life vehicles being sent to the shredders.

The council remarks that despite an appreciation in value in the first quarter of the year, platinum has clearly underperformed when compared to other metals in the precious complex thus far in 2017.

At the moment, palladium prices have climbed back above US$ 800 an ounce to a near two-year high, while rhodium prices have risen to US$ 1,025 an ounce – which is the highest level since 2015. It is said that higher prices for palladium, rhodium and steel will more than compensate for the current weakness in platinum for the consolidators of scrap autocats.

A detailed report about platinum group metals will be published in the upcoming issue (#3) of Recycling International.

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