Rising electricity and labor costs are compounding the problems of the platinum industry. There are six platinum group metals (PGMs): platinum, palladium, iridium, rhodium, ruthenium, and osmium. PGMs have diverse uses, from anti-cancer drugs and catalytic converters to ceramic glasses and mobile phones, etc. Their importance can be judged from the fact that almost 25% of the total goods manufactured today either have PGMs or use them as raw materials. Platinum has three supply channels: mine production, auto-catalyst scrap, and old jewelry scrap. Platinum has four major end markets: auto-catalyst, industrial, jewelry, and retail investment.
The platinum jewelry demand in 2011 surged by 2% on a year-over-year basis as metal prices declined, both in terms of absolute values and relative to gold.
Almost 75% of the world's platinum supply comes from South Africa, where violent clashes at three of its four main mines have decreased supply and underpinned metal prices, which had previously remained at low levels due to oversupply and weak demand.
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