London Platinum is luring jewellers away from gold after investors pushed up bullion prices to records escaping market turmoil.
Gold surpassed platinum as the most expensive metal used in jewellery in Aug-ust for the first time since December 2008. Gold demand from jewellery makers dropped 3 per cent last year, according to the World Gold Council. Platinum use climbed 1.8 per cent, according to an estimate by Johnson Matthey Plc, a global marketer and distributor of the precious metal.
"Each time gold rallies and hits new key psychological levels, jewellery demand is impacted," David Wilson, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. in London, said. "The switch last year, with gold overtaking, should be supportive for platinum jewellery demand."
Platinum jewellery's appeal is spreading, driven by China, which accounts for about 68 per cent of consumption.
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n India, the world's biggest market for gold ornaments, the grayish-white metal's popularity is gaining among young women, with the switch partly explained by the surge in gold prices, Platinum Guild International country manager Vaishali Banerjee said in Mumbai.
"All retailers are reporting a strong uptake" in India, Banerjee said. "2012 will be a stronger year for platinum."
The yellow metal has climbed for 11 successive years and peaked at $1,921.15 (Dh7,056.58) an ounce on September 6 before retreating to close at $1,784.23 an ounce in London yesterday, data on Bloomberg show. Platinum closed at $1,718.50 an ounce the same day, up from a three-year average of almost $1,546 an ounce.
"Consumers have begun to see platinum as a bargain since gold reached parity with platinum," Johnson Matthey said in its preliminary report for 2011. Even so, gold's use in jewellery still dwarfs that of platinum by a multiple of about 25. The gulf between consumption levels in rings, necklaces and bracelets signals the potential for platinum's growth.
Demand for gold from jewellers fell to 1,962.9 tons, dragged lower by a 13 per cent slump in the second half, the Council said. Jewellery accounted for 47 per cent of gold purchases last year.
Platinum's use in jewellery rose to 76.7 tons, according to Johnson Matthey.
Gold's bull run may last for eight years
Gold's bull run may last for a further five to eight years, with the price of the precious metal more than doubling to as high as $5,000 an ounce, Christopher Wyke, Schroders Investment Management product manager for emerging market debt, commodity and currency funds, said on February 24.
In the near term, gold probably will remain more expensive than platinum through next year, according to the median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Investment demand for gold in 2011 climbed 7 per cent to a record 52.7 million ounces, or about $79.2 billion, the Council said on February 16.