Typically when people see or hear of the word “platinum,” they associate it with a car part, the silver cap that is used for cavity fillings, or just a kind of metal.
Well, believe it or not, demand for platinum has been surging relative to gold. This may have something to do with the fact that gold became the most expensive metal used in jewelry last August. Still, analysts expect gold to continue rising over the next five to eight years, some even betting on its price to reach $5,000 an ounce.
Due to gold’s bull run, platinum as a result has shined through like a diamond in the rough. Just because it is not a gold color does not mean it fails in a comparison. As a whole, platinum use increased by 1.8% last year, 31% of which was due to jewelry. Jewelry ranks second for platinum demand by application (first is autocatalyst).
Even if the price of platinum rises in the short term, it will hardly beat off existing or potential investors alike, since many of its consumers are from emerging countries. In China, particularly, there have arisen many platinum jewelry buyers. In fact, demand from China rose 2% last year, simultaneously accounting for a whopping 68% of global platinum consumption. The precious metal is also gaining popularity in India, where younger women are opting for the white metal rather than traditional gold.
Something worth noting: On February 28, 2012, platinum closed at $1,718.50 versus gold at $1,784.23. The spread is not huge, but it’s still a different nonetheless. Moreover, platinum’s growth is more reasonably capped, in my opinion. Platinum was priced at $1,546 on the same day three years ago, whereas gold has just been going at it, peaking at $1,921.15 on September 6, 2011 on a straight 11-year run.
In addition, gold demand from jewelry makers decreased by 3% last year—not a good sign especially with the rapid increase of a new middle class possessing much disposable income to spend.
Another place you might be familiar with the metallic element is Tiffany & Co. Aside from traditional platinum wedding bands, more engagement rings today are fashioned out of a platinum band with a diamond setting. So look out for that tidbit next time you see or receive one!