Platinum (atomic symbol Pt) is a relatively rare, chemically inert metallic element that is more valuable than gold. Platinum is a grayish-white metal that has a high fusing point, is malleable and ductile, and has a high electrical resistance. Chemically, platinum is relatively inert and resists attack by air, water, single acids, and ordinary reagents. Platinum is the most important of the six-metal group, which also includes ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, and iridium. The word "platinum" is derived from the Spanish word platina meaning silver.
Platinum is one of the world's rarest metals with new mine production totaling only about 5 million troy ounces a year. All the platinum mined to date would fit in the average-size living room. Platinum is mined all over the world with supplies concentrated in South Africa. South Africa accounts for nearly 80% of world supply, followed by Russia, and North America.
Platinum is a chemical element, precious metal and commodity used primarily in jewelry, electronics and automobiles.
Platinum is much rarer than gold, as the amount of platinum mined each year is only a small fraction of the amount of gold mined each year. Its price is more volatile than gold's, and it has a much lower trading volume than gold, silver or copper.
Platinum is mined primarily in Russia and secondarily in South Africa. About half of the mined platinum is used in jewelry, where it is desirable because it looks silver in color but does not tarnish, and is stronger and more durable than gold. Platinum is also widely used in the auto industry in catalytic converters and fuel cells. It can sometimes be substituted by the less-expensive metal palladium.
Demand for platinum slowed during 2017, in line with sharp falls in jewellery demand in China and investment buying in Japan. Chinese jewellery fabrication contracted, as platinum lost market share to karat gold jewellery, while purchases of platinum bars by Japanese investors returned to more normal levels following two years of exceptionally strong demand. However, the autocatalyst market proved more robust than expected, declining only marginally versus 2016, while industrial platinum usage increased. With growth in recycling offsetting weaker mine supply, our expectations of a modest surplus in 2017 have been confirmed.