European palladium jewellery demand soars in 2009

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UK market buoyed by hallmark as male wedding bands prove popular.

Demand for palladium jewellery rose to 50,000 oz in Europe in 2009, according to Johnson Matthey’s Platinum 2010 report released today.

Johnson Matthey said that the increase in demand had been buoyed by the introduction of a UK hallmark in July 2009 that affirmed the metal’s status as precious. The report’s findings are in line with data supplied by the UK’s four Assay Offices which, while unable to give year-on-year statistics until July 2010, have reported high numbers of palladium items being sent for hallmarking.

The Johnson Matthey report said that the palladium jewellery market in Europe was driven by men’s wedding bands in 2009 as couples with reduced budgets in the economic crisis turned to the white metal, which is less expensive than platinum.

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Globally, demand for palladium dropped 17.3 percent to 815,000 oz, led by China, the precious metal’s largest market, shifting its focus to platinum in 2009 as it became a more profitable option thanks to lower prices. In the US, demand rose to 60,000 oz despite general tough conditions in the jewellery market.

Johnson Matthey expects demand for palladium jewellery to continue to rise in Europe and the US in 2010, where it is gaining recognition and acceptance. The report states that palladium will continue to face challenges in China in 2010 and expects demand to continue to decline.

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