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Slight uptick in SA platinum output - report

Sep 07 2017 11:35
Malcom Sharara, Fin24

Harare - South Africa's output for refined platinum grew by 3% for the second quarter of 2017, according to the latest global production report by the World Platinum Investment Council.

The report states: "An improved quarter for key Western Bushveld mine plus ramp-up of tailings operations lifted output in South Africa."

Supply from South Africa at 1 045 koz was slightly higher than the 1 015 koz achieved in the previous quarter. This is however a reduction of 155 koz or 13% year-on-year (y/y).

Global refined production for the second quarter was, however, 11% lower than the prior comparative year.

"This is partly owing to a smelter run-out and rebuild in South Africa in late 2016 and early 2017, for which built-up volumes have yet to be processed," according to the report.

Meanwhile, global platinum ETF holdings expanded by 20 koz in Q2’17, a slower pace than seen in the first quarter.

However, South Africa added to its holdings which grew by 62 koz in Q2’17, a significant improvement over the 15 koz rise seen in Q1’17, with most of  the gains occurring in May as some investors took advantage of  the lower platinum price, aided by a stronger rand.

Global refined supply is forecast to fall by 1% to 5 970 koz in 2017, with South Africa’s output predicted to decline by 0.4% (-15 koz) to 4 240 koz this year. Mine restructuring and shaft closures announced to date are expected to result in a loss of  110 koz y/y, all taking place in South Africa.

“These losses should largely be offset by planned improved performances at some larger Western Limb mines, and continued ramp-up of chrome-PGM (platinum group metals) producing operations.”

Global demand is also forecast to decline by 6% y/y to 7 810 koz owing to contractions in each of the main demand sectors. Automotive demand is projected to slip by 2% (-75 koz) as a drop in China, which is the largest platinum jewellery market, outweighs gains in all other regions.

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