China’s affinity for platinum is indisputable – it is the country that uses the most platinum in the world and it is the largest market for platinum jewellery, industry body the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) notes.
The council says that, against the backdrop of the worldwide economic turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, purchases of platinum from the Shanghai Gold Exchange grew significantly in the first quarter of 2020, rising from an average of 171 000 oz a quarter in 2019 to 455 000 oz, as manufacturers in the jewellery and industrial sectors responded to global supply uncertainty and the low platinum price and took the opportunity to increase their stock levels.
Moreover, the council indicates that platinum is recognised as a metal of strategic importance by the Chinese government as a result of its use in proton exchange membrane (PEM) technologies that are unlocking the potential of hydrogen to decarbonise industry and transportation.
Along with lithium, nickel and cobalt, platinum is specifically mentioned in the China State Council’s New Energy Vehicle Industrial Development Plan (2021 to 2035), which encourages Chinese companies to improve their capacity to secure long-term supplies of these rare and in-demand elements.
Further, China's fourteenth Five Year Energy Plan now lists the development of a domestic hydrogen economy as a key strategic goal, with 11 of the country’s largest provinces committing to significant investment in green hydrogen capacity, fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) refuelling infrastructure and FCEV penetration rates over the next five years.
As a result, rapid growth in the deployment of platinum-based PEM technologies is expected, the council posits.
It notes that China is also experiencing a burgeoning interest in platinum as an investment asset – seen by many as a natural progression given the country’s innate appreciation of the unique chemical and physical properties of platinum and its place as the pre-eminent jewellery metal.
“This confluence of spheres of interest in platinum means that the launch of Shanghai Platinum Week could not be more timely. With similarities to London Platinum Week, which has successfully acted as a focus for platinum industry participants from across the spectrum for over 30 years, the inaugural Shanghai Platinum Week will take place in the first week of June this year,” the WPIC says.
The purpose of Shanghai Platinum Week is to develop a stronger domestic platinum and platinum group metals (PGMs) market and to improve domestic and international communication and cooperation.
The intention is for Shanghai Platinum Week to become a yearly fixture for the PGMs industry in China and beyond, acting as an interface between those involved in PGMs market development in all its guises, from technology to jewellery and investment.
This year, Shanghai Platinum Week is being held virtually, with the option of in-person attendance for those living in China.