South African Supply Issues Supportive for PGMs

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"S. Africa produces 75% of the world's platinum, 41% of palladium."

South African supply issues are bullish for platinum and palladium, says R.J. O'Brien & Associates in a research report. The country produces 75% of the world's platinum and 41% of the palladium. Many analysts are forecasting a 5% fall in South African platinum output next year, R.J. says. Producers are already suffering from high prices, and now power utility Eskom is planning to raise prices by 25% in each of the next two years. A strong South African rand is also hurting South African producers, R.J. says. Platinum has risen in dollar terms by 14% this year but only around 8% in rand terms. "Many South African miners have responded to these cost pressures by closing down shafts because it becomes uneconomic to work the PGM-bearing reefs in the areas under these shafts," R.J. says. Meanwhile, strikes that disrupt output are common. "In the event of a 10% cost escalation next year, which is not farfetched, more shafts will close down until such time as the platinum and palladium prices are high enough to justify their reopening," R.J. says.

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