New York--Platinum prices are expected to rise slightly in 2015, analysts say, with jewelry demand anticipated to increase as well.

Earlier this month, the white metal hit its low for the year, plummeting to $1,229 on the London PM fix.

Andrew Leyland, manager of precious metals demand at Thomson Reuters, said platinum’s price briefly dipped below that of gold at one point, pushed down by the strengthening U.S. dollar and the exit of investors. He said that investors who bought into platinum earlier in the year expecting that prices would skyrocket due to the long strikes in South Africa are in the midst of a sell-off.

Despite the drop, the price is not staying down, buoyed by physical buying support, particularly in automotive, as the stockpiles created in anticipation of the strike have dwindled. “It has bottomed out,” Leyland said of platinum’s price.

The metal closed at $1,268 an ounce Monday, and is expected to average $1,350 in the fourth quarter.

In 2015, Thomson Reuters forecasts an average annual price of $1,475 for platinum, in line with a poll of 23 analysts conducted by Reuters that forecasts platinum to average $1,477.50 an ounce next year. That is up slightly from $1,424 this year.

That same poll also predicted a rise in palladium prices in 2015, which were volatile this year, peaking above $900 an ounce before sinking as low as $725 in intraday trading. The metal is expected to average $890 an ounce in 2015, according to the analysts’ poll. Leyland said the Thomson Reuters palladium forecast for 2015 is $950 an ounce.

He also said demand for platinum jewelry is expected to finish the year 4 percent ahead of 2013, and Thomson Reuters forecasts it will rise again next year, gaining 2 percent.

In the United States, the jewelry market continues to see recovery in platinum jewelry sales, though he adds that the metal’s price point has not sunk to the level that it is taking significant market share from gold for fashion jewelry.

Philip Newman, a founding partner of London-based consultancy Metals Focus, said one aspect of the U.S. market that has helped independent jewelers with platinum sales specifically is more major retailers (with bigger advertising budgets) stocking platinum jewelry and marketing it. This advertising generates consumer recognition that trickles down to independent jewelers.

In addition, the improved economy has meant better sell-through on platinum pieces. This, in turn, means more jewelers are stocking platinum in their cases, enabling customers to purchase pieces on the spot rather than having to order and wait for it.

“Now could be the beginning of a solid phase of growth (for platinum jewelry),” Newman said.

 


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