Chinese jewellery fabricators are likely to switch from platinum to a gold alloy
Chinese jewellery fabricators are likely to switch from platinum to a gold alloy , to meet retail demand following a rise in the price of platinum, Financial Times reports.
Chinese platinum jewellery consumption rose from almost nothing in the early 1990s to about a quarter of total platinum consumption in 2002, before slipping closer to 20 per cent last year, and is a significant factor on the metal's price.
GFMS said that, while China's consumption of platinum in jewellery held up well last year despite the higher price, retail consumption was depleting inventories held by fabricators who were no longer replacing their platinum stocks because of the high price.
Peter Ryan, senior consultant at GFMS, said Chinese jewellery fabricators were unable to pass on the impact of the higher platinum price because retail prices for the metal have remained unchanged due to the intense store competition.
Mr Ryan said fabricators' margins for platinum were about 2 per cent, compared with about 25 per cent for white gold jewellery, which is a gold alloy containing either nickel or palladium.
The survey findings on platinum's sister metal, palladium, were in contrast to other research from GFMS, concluding that palladium demand outweighed supply. Precious metals analysts have for years estimated an oversupply of the metal.
GFMS said inventory sales from Russia, the world's biggest palladium producer, were considerably reduced over the past two years