UK Duties Applied to Russian Platinum and Palladium

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Global Trade, Precious Metals

The United Kingdom recently imposed a 35% duty on all platinum and palladium imports from Russia and Belarus. This move is part of a new package of sanctions on the two countries totaling £1.7 billion ($1.7 billion).

The Department for International Trade (DIT) and HM Treasury made the announcement on May 9. Since Russia’s late February invasion of Ukraine, the country has seen dozens of major trade penalties and tariffs. A DIT official told MetalMiner that there were no UK import tariffs at all on those metals previously.

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Platinum and palladium prices have surged along with other precious metals.

A Major Source of Platinum and Palladium

Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of platinum and palladium. Much of this supply comes from two companies: Norilsk Nickel and the Russian Platinum Group.

Reports indicate that Russia supplies about 40% of the world’s palladium and 15.52% of global platinum. The UK alone imported £1.2 billion ($1.47 billion) worth of platinum and palladium from Russia in 2021. The DIT official told MetalMiner this amounted to 14.1 metric tons and 17 metric tons of palladium.

Platinum’s primary application is in catalysis, which is used in automobile catalytic converters. It is also utilized in the production of petroleum and fuel cells. Of course, the hyper-rare element is also a major investment commodity.  Palladium is useful in catalysis as well. It also has applications in dentistry, surgical tools, and jewelry.

According to data from Trading Economics, platinum was priced at around $940 per troy ounce on May 13. On May 11, it reached a high of $994.22.

Understanding the Two Metals

The UK’s import tariff on Russian and Belarusian platinum and palladium is the country’s first action on non-ferrous metals. Meanwhile, on May 5, the HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) announced an asset freeze against Evraz. A global metal producer headquartered in London, Evraz has several steel making assets in Russia.

Back in March, the Department for International Trade and HM Treasury imposed a 35% import tariff on iron and steel from Russia and Belarus. This was part of a package stripping both countries of their “Most Favored Nation” status on hundreds of exports. How will these moves affect pricing? There’s no simple answer. However, we can assume that Russian metals companies will feel a significant financial pinch.

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