Precious metals are naturally occurring rare metallic elements having significant economic value. They have high luster, usually ductile which tend to be less reactive than most elements. Precious metals are primarily regarded as investments and industrial commodities. Platinum group metals and gold are some of the most prominent precious metals present in the industry. While the coinage metals, silver and gold are consumed in industrial applications, they are better known for their use in jewellery and art. Other precious metals include the platinum group metals: iridium, osmium, rhodium, ruthenium, palladium and platinum.
Precious metals such as gold are widely used for investment purposes and jewellery owing to their aesthetics. It is usually sold in stock exchange markets associated with falling share prices attributed to its escalating high prices. Recent war events and rebellions in the Middle-Eastern countries such as Syria, Egypt, Libya has led to significant increase in investments in bullion (gold bars). This has resulted in overselling of gold which in turn has increased the gold prices worldwide. Global supply of gold is a combination of scrap recovery, central-bank supply and mined gold, out of which more than half of the supply comes from mined gold. Asia Pacific serves as the major producer as well as consumer of gold with significant consumption in South East Asian countries such as China and India. Moreover, high growth in these emerging economies coupled rising disposable incomes of the individuals is the major driver for the precious metals market.
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Platinum group metals such as palladium is majorly consumed in the automotive industry as catalytic converters, manufacturing of electronics and jewelry, as well as chemical and dental applications. Palladium is sourced from two major sources: mine production and recycling. The global market for palladium is likely to experience significant growth with declining demand for metals and increasing demand for recycling metals, leading to palladium demand outstripping the supply. In addition, changing prospects of investments in palladium have also contributed to the growth of the market. Several new palladium exchange-traded funds by companies such as Absa Capital in South America are expected to create a significant boost for the palladium market.
Increasing prices for coinage precious metals such as gold are anticipated to be one of the major factors driving the market as more and more consumers are purchasing gold as a mean of long terms investments. In addition, growing demand for palladium in catalytic converters in the automotive industry in vehicles exhausts are also expected to contribute towards the growth of the market. Demand for precious metals from other sectors such as jewelry and industrial are also anticipated to drive the growth of the market. However, technical issues and diminishing ore grades of these metals are expected to hamper the growth of the market. Future market growth is expected to be from Asia Pacific with the growing industrial activities in emerging economies such as India and China. These factors are expected to provide new opportunities for the growth of the precious metals market.
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Barrick Gold, First Quantum Minerals, Goldcorp Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., Gold Fields Limited, Goldcorp Inc., Gabriel Resources Limited, Lundin Mining, GlencoreXstrata,North American Palladium Ltd, Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited are some of the key manufacturers of precious metals present in the market.