Platinum closed above the psychological $1000 barrier on January 13th, to close at $1030 /oz, its highest in 26-years. The precious metal is used in catalytic converters in 50% of European made autos. According to data revealed by Stats South Africa , total mining production in the country fell by 3.8% in the third quarter 2005, compared to the previous quarter, to stand 13% lower from a year earlier.
A prolonged decline in supply could cause prices for platinum to spiral, as global demand for platinum is anticipated to rise to 6.71 million ounces for 2005, but supplies will only reach 6.59 million ounces. South African miners control 75% of the world's platinum supply. The Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dog, begins on January 29th and is anticipated to bring with it a jump in platinum jewelry demand, following the end of the unlucky Year of the Rooster.