In the Press
How Low Can You Go?: Where will the newest ASX gold mines land on the global cost curve?
At US$1289/oz, average AISC globally in the September quarter was at record levels according to the Metals Focus Gold Mine Cost Service. “This significant rise in costs has largely been driven by inflation of almost all input costs for miners,” director of mine supply at Metals Focus Adam Webb said at the time. “In particular, a tight labour market in many major gold producing countries has led to increasing wage rates and therefore rising staff costs. By Josh Chiat for Stockhead
Gold Digger: Are we getting closer to a rhodium breakout?
Platinum, palladium and rhodium, prized for their use in catalytic converters in internal combustion engine cars, remain below their pandemic and post-Ukraine invasion highs. Palladium, which briefly topped US$3000/oz a year ago, is down to US$1444/oz, while platinum remains sub US$1000/oz. Meanwhile, rhodium prices remain under pressure according to analysts at Metals Focus. “Since rhodium’s fifth and latest failed attempt to break through $30,000 in May 2021, the price has been under pressure,” they say. By Josh Chiat for Stockhead
Gold Digger: Will bank collapses usher in a new gold bull market?
Fed policy – and market expectations around Fed policy – has been a particularly important driver of gold prices in recent months, says Metals Focus. “Much of the price upside seen in Q4.22 reflected investor expectations that the Fed would turn more dovish, anticipating modest rate increases in H1.23, before seeing cuts emerge during H2,” it says. By Reuben Adams for Stockhead
Solar could devour most of the world’s silver reserves by 2050
The Indian market is particularly strong for silver. Silver consumption there was forecast to surge by around 80% in 2022, Bloomberg said, as warehouse inventories were drawn down after two years of covid. While little silver was bought in 2020 and 2021, because of hits to supply chains and demand, 2022 sales look back on track: Local purchases may surpass 8,000 tons in 2022 from about 4,500 tons [in 2021], said Chirag Sheth, principal consultant at Metals Focus Ltd. That’s up from an April  estimate of 5,900 tons. By Richard Mills for Kitco
Step Aside, Palladium. This Precious Metal Is About to Shine.
On March 8, the platinum futures contract settled at $940.60 an ounce, while palladium ended at $1,362.10 an ounce, its lowest since June 2019. In the past 12 months, platinum has lost 18%, but still outperformed palladium, which dropped 54%. Palladium was “badly hit” by an anemic auto sector, and demand hasn’t recovered since the pandemic, says Nikos Kavalis, managing director at Metals Focus. He says substitution from palladium to platinum and a rise in battery-powered vehicles contributed to palladium’s steeper decline. By Myra P. Saefong for Barron’s
Platinum deficit in 2023 to be deeper than expected
A worsening of electricity supply shortages in major producer South Africa and sanctions-related operating challenges in Russia are among downside risks to the global supply, the WPIC, which uses data from consultants Metals Focus, added
Metals and the invasion: Nornickel loses partners amid war, seeks new suppliers
“While [Nornickel’s] production achieved planned volumes, logistical challenges associated with the conflict resulted in increased friction in sales during the early part of 2022 with around 9% of palladium produced in the first half of 2022 not realized as sales,” Jacob Smith, senior analyst of platinum group metals at Metals Focus, an independent precious metals consultancy, told Commodity Insights. “Logistical challenges appear to have eased as the year progressed; however, the reorientation of sales to new markets in 2022 and beyond is not yet completely evident/factored.” By Eri Silva for S&P Global
Gold forecast: Precious metal will continue to hold firm
Meanwhile, 2022 saw a 1% increase on 2021. Adam Webb, head of mine supply at Metals Focus points out that Russia, the world’s second-largest gold producer, had a major impact on global output. “We estimate a decrease of about 30 t from Russia in 2022. This is because miners in the country have struggled to get finance and equipment from Western sources. Also, we saw companies such as Kinross closing their mines and exiting Russia.” By Gerard Peter for Mining Review Africa
Analyst expects global gold market demand to be fairly robust in 2023
Mumbai-based Metal Focus principal consultant Chirag Sheth said demand from China is expected to grow, following the reopening of the country’s economic activities this year compared with a discouraging performance last year. ‘We expect some bit of growth coming in from China while demand in India will continue its growth over the last two years since it has shown very good data. By Bernama
LBMA Forecast 2023 Bullish on Platinum Prices, Bearish Palladium
Palladium on Wednesday fell near $1450 per ounce, its cheapest since September 2019 and the low-point for 2023 prices forecast by PGM specialist Wilma Swarts at Metals Focus thanks to “growing awareness that 2024 onwards will see surplus conditions” in the market’s balance of supply and demand. By BullionVault
Mining Indaba Video: Metals Focus – Gold outlook for 2023
Adam Webb, head of mine supply at Metals Focus gives us a forecast for gold supply in 2023, the factors that will influence it and Africa’s role in the global gold mining supply. By Mining Review Africa
Ground Breakers: Threat of rate rises continues to hover as gold’s magic run stalls
“Going forward, this will remain a key dynamic to watch out for. If US economic data in the coming months rules out an outright recession and suggests only a modest slowdown, the case for holding on to higher interest rates will become stronger and also help rule out rate cuts for the foreseeable future,” Metals Focus analysts say. “In this context, the Fed’s March meeting will show new projections by Fed members for the first time in 2023. By Josh Chiat for Stockhead
Gold Digger: Hydrogen-related platinum demand is gearing up to go parabolic
Three to seven grams of platinum group metals (PGMs) — mostly platinum, palladium and rhodium – go in every catalytic converter, which sit in your car exhaust to reduce polluting emissions. Catalytic convertors account for as much as 80% of annual platinum and palladium production, respectively. However, an accumulation of hydrogen related investment globally is beginning to impact PGM demand, with Metals Focus expecting hydrogen related offtake to hit ~100,000oz in 2023. By Reuben Adams for Stockhead
Electric vehicles throw palladium’s mega-rally into reverse
Prices surged last year due to fears of sanctions on Norilsk’s palladium after Russia invaded Ukraine. Uncertainty around supply remains as long as the war continues, said Jacob Smith at consultants Metals Focus “If there’s any constraints on that (supply from Russia), you’ll definitely see a spike,” he said. By Peter Hobson for Reuters
Gold and palladium were the winners in 2022 as silver and platinum lagged – LBMA
Despite a strong start in the first quarter of 2022, last year proved to be a consolidation period for the precious metal market, relatively in line with expectations, according to the latest report from the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). Friday, the LBMA reported that gold prices averaged $1,800.09 an ounce last year, up only slightly from the 2021 average price of $1,798.60 an ounce. By Neils Christensen for Kitco News
India looks to lower gold import duty to combat illegal smuggling
A surge in gold smuggling has pushed India to look into cutting its import duty on the precious metal as illegal activity is hurting official profits.”The Indian government is set to unveil its annual budget for the upcoming 2023-24 fiscal year (April-23-March-24) on 1st February,” said Metals Focus in its report Monday. “Under normal circumstances, any changes in the customs or import duty also tend to be revealed at this time.” By Anna Golubova for Kitco News