The longest South African Miners’ strike since the end of Apartheid has caused the price of platinum to fluctuate wildly but not to go up as much as analysts had predicted. This is mostly due to the industry’s success in using built up reserves to hold the market steady. Amplats, Implats and Lonmin are the three major mining companies experiencing the work stoppage, which has shut down 40 percent of global production since it began in late January.
Amplats told Reuters UK last month that it had stockpiles of some 430,000 ounces ahead of the strike, built up to cushion it from supply threats, around half of which remained on March 31, according to press reports. If stocks run out, Amplats said, it would be prepared to buy platinum to meet its contractual obligations if necessary. However, there is no sign that this has been happening, nor that producers have been borrowing the metal as an alternative to buying. If stocks dry up there could be significant, fast jump in the price of platinum.
At JPY 4,710 ($45.94) per gram, Japanese platinum bar moved up 1.1 percent on Tuesday, April 29, the day’s biggest change. US platinum bar held its value on Tuesday at $1,414 per ounce. The price of Chinese platinum bar steadied at CNY 304.00 ($48.62) per gram following two-days of increases.
Following two days of rising prices, the price of US palladium bar dropped 0.1 percent to $799.00 per ounce. The price of Japanese palladium bar remained essentially flat at JPY 2,627 ($25.62) per gram. After a couple of days of improving prices, the price of Chinese palladium bar held steady at CNY 183.00 ($29.27).
At JPY 4,279 ($41.74), the price of Japanese gold bullion finished the market day up 0.7 percent per gram. Following a couple days of improvement, the price of Indian gold bullion weakened by 0.4 percent. Prices closed at INR 28,320 ($467.74) per 10 grams. The price of US gold bullion increased 0.2 percent to $1,296 per ounce. The price of Chinese gold bullion ended a two-day climb, settling at CNY 262.20 ($41.93) per gram.
The price of Indian silver changed direction with a 0.9 percent drop. After two days of improving prices, the metal finished at INR 43,909 ($725.22) per kilogram. After a 0.3 percent increase, US silver finished the day at $19.57 per ounce. Following a two-day rise, the price of Chinese silver flattened at CNY 4,120 ($658.88). The price of Japanese silver flattened at JPY 648.00 ($6.32) after two days of improvement.