Platinum Market Expected to Swing to Deficit in 2023 as Demand Jumps

By Yusuf Khan

The platinum market is expected to move into deficit in 2023 for the first time in two years, spurred by surging demand and stagnant supply.

The market is expected to move into a deficit of 303,000 ounces in 2023, swinging from the 804,000 ounces forecasted surplus in 2022, the World Platinum Investment Council said in a report Tuesday.

Much of this shift in dynamic is expected to come from a rise in demand, particularly from the auto sector, with total demand expected to rise 19% on year to 7.77 million ounces in 2023. By comparison, supply is expected to only increase 2% to 7.46 million ounces.

WPIC noted very strong demand from the auto sector in 2022, with platinum used in catalytic converters to help combat carbon emissions. Demand in the third quarter of 2022 was up 25% to 723,000 ounces compared to the same period in 2021, as supply-chain challenges that emerged during the pandemic eased. This trend is expected to continue into 2023, with auto demand forecast at 3.28 million ounces alone, up from the likely 2.96 million ounces in 2022.

Demand from investors is also expected to be much higher in 2023, with total investment demand forecast at 212,000 ounces, up from minus 525,000 ounces in 2022, led by an increase in exchange-traded fund holdings.

For 2022, WPIC said it expects the surplus in platinum to shrink to 804,000 ounces, a 17% fall compared with 2021, on constrained supply as well as increased bar and coin demand for the precious metal.

Total supply of platinum is forecast to fall by 10% in 2022 on year, with refining activity and other operational challenges trimming output, WPIC said. Reliable power in South Africa was a key issue, with load shedding a common occurrence in the country. Global mine supply in 2022 is forecast to contract by 9% on year to 5.63 million ounces, roughly 7% lower than 2019’s prepandemic levels, the council said.

Write to Yusuf Khan at yusuf.khan@wsj.com

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