Ticker: PL
Exchange: NYMEX
Trading Hours: 8:20 A.M. - 1:05 P.M. (EST)
Contract Size: 50 troy ounces
Contract Months: Jan,Apr,Jul,Oct
Price Quote: $ / oz., $1 = $50
Tick Size: 10 pts = $5
Last Trading Day: Trading terminates at the close of business on the fourth business day prior to the end of the delivery month.
Daily Price Limit: There is no maximum daily limit during the current delivery month, the closest cycle month, and any months preceding it. In other months, the daily limit is $50.00 per ounce ($2,500 per contract).

40 Yr Seasonal Chart Long-Term Chart Supply & Demand Tables

Fundamental Overview:

Platinum is the principal metal of the six-metal group that bears its name; the other platinum group metals are palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, osmium, and iridium. All possess unique chemical and physical qualities that make them vital industrial materials.

Jewelry creates the largest demand for platinum, accounting for 51%. Automotive catalysts take 29% and chemical and petroleum refining catalysts, 13%.

Platinum is used in the computer industry and in other high-tech electronic applications since it is an excellent conductor of electricity, does not corrode, and has a low reactivity with other metals. This sector accounts for about 7% of consumption.

Platinum is among the world's scarcest metals; new mine production totals approximately only 5 million troy ounces a year. In contrast, gold mine production runs approximately 82 million ounces a year, and silver production is approximately 547 million ounces.

Supplies of platinum are concentrated in South Africa, which accounts for approximately 80% of supply; Russia, 11%; and North America, 6%.

Because of the metal's importance as an industrial material, its relatively low production, and concentration among a few suppliers, prices can be volatile. For this reason, it is often considered attractive to investors.

Key Trading Notes:

Platinum is among the finest of the precious metals, but it is also an industrial metal. It is most commonly used in pollution control devices like catalytic converters. Auto sales have been very brisk through 2003, which supported demand for platinum. Jewelry drives a lot of demand for platinum. It is normally considered a higher quality and more desirable than gold. Thus, platinum carries about a $200 - $300 premium an ounce to gold.

Platinum is predominately mined in South Africa and Russia. Therefore, these areas can sometimes cause supply disruptions due to political and economic problems. That was certainly a problem for palladium a couple years ago. The price rose above $1,000 an ounce, because Russia had problems meeting delivery of palladium. Russia is the largest producer of palladium.

Copyright 2004 FuturesBuzz.com. All rights reserved.