Chinese platinum demand in August remains strong: Barclays

WASHINGTON (Sept 24)  August trade data from China suggests that low platinum prices prompted stronger demand from the country's jewelry sector, analysts with UK banking gain Barclays said Monday. The jewelry sector in Asia is a major end-user of platinum.

"Platinum continues to outshine its peers this year as palatable prices provide support to platinum jewelry demand," Barclays precious metals Suki Cooper said in a report.

Though Chinese platinum imports in August of 237,000 oz were 7% less than the same year-ago period and 17% lower than July, they still remain high, Cooper said. Moreover, total platinum imports from January-August are 7% higher than the same year-ago period, according to the data.

Including platinum shipments into Hong Kong, year-to-date imports were even higher, up 9% over the same period in 2012, Cooper added.

Platinum volume traded on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, which predominantly reflects consumption by the jewelry industry, was up 33% year over year in August -- similar to July volumes -- but September volumes to date have averaged nearly twice those September 2012, and are more than double month over month, Cooper said.

While local prices peaked near Yuan 320/g in August, they have since fallen back below the Yuan 300/g ($52.28/g) level, "triggering high volumes in September as demand remains price responsive thus supporting prices on the downside -- a trend we expect to continue," Cooper said.