UK market soft but platinum soars globally in 2009

The UK bridal market held up in 2009 but overall platinum sales were soft. (Image: Fingerprint rings by Dominic Walmsley)

UK bridal sales held up while boom in demand was led by China.

Gross demand for platinum jewellery rose 46 percent to 3.01 million oz in 2009, according to Johnson Matthey’s Platinum 2010 report released today.

While global demand increases, platinum sales in Europe were hit hard by the recession. In the UK, Johnson Matthey said that platinum bridal jewellery demand “held up well in the circumstances” but overall demand was down in line with general jewellery market conditions.

A large proportion of European platinum demand is driven by the Swiss watch industry. This sector has suffered in the downturn and reduced stock levels resulted in a 10 percent drop in platinum sales to 185,000 in the region.

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China was the real star of the Johnson Matthey report with lower prices prompting retailers to reduce retail prices and replenish depleted stocks. Gross demand in China surged to 2 million oz and while recycling increased, retail sales surged simultaneously as shoppers cashing in old jewellery replaced it with new and in so doing more than doubled net demand to 1.75 million oz.

Elsewhere in the world, the annual report stated that demand for platinum jewellery “held up well” in Japan as prices dipped and stores devoted more space to the promotion of the precious metal, while Johnson Matthey reported that“price pressures were evident” in the US where demand for platinum jewellery fell 32.5 percent to 135,000 oz.

Johnson Matthey said that the outlook for platinum sales in Europe and the US in 2010 are intrinsically linked to the economic climate. Should the economy bounce back, demand would most likely follow suit, but should the market suffer another dip, sales would do the same.

In Asia, the report stated that it expected the rising price of platinum to have a negative impact on Japan this year, and added that the 2009 boom in China was unlikely to be repeated and that demand would be lower in the country in 2010.

 

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