Platinum Market Update (October 4, 2012)

Mass labor unrest in South Africa continues. This week, Atlatsa Resources (TSXV:ATL,AMEX:ATL) reported a strike at its Bokoni mine, which is a joint venture with Anglo American (LSE:AAL).

Meanwhile, Anglo American has been unable to get the majority of it striking employees to return to work. On October 2, the company reported that deteriorating security conditions at Rustenburg prompted it to advise employees not to go to work. That day, the company also said workers at the Union Mine in Limpopo refused to go underground and instead presented management with a memorandum. The contents were not disclosed.

“Before the current strike action, we expected a deficit in the platinum market. Now, we expect a greater one,” said Barclays in a market comment. “Our deficit estimate is now 413k oz vs a previous deficit of 112k oz.”

Demand for platinum is still relatively weak. As a result, Barclays believes the strike action will increase the floor for platinum prices instead of increasing upside potential. The bank now sees value in the metal at about the $1,550 level.

Platinum prices are currently about $1,684. The metal closed September at $1,661, with a monthly gain of $153.

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