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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Platinum Exports Set To Recover

Platinum shipments from Russia will eventually recover to normal levels this year after a four-month interruption caused by a new licensing system, industry officials and analysts said.

Norilsk Nickel, the country's leading producer, found alternative ways to meet contracts during the break, while new licenses were introduced in time for the alluvial mining season at smaller producers in the Far East, they said.

"As far as state reserves are concerned, statistics for the last few years show shipments always take place at the very end of the year," said Mikhail Piskulov, general manager in Russia for Johnson Matthey.

The Economic Development and Trade Ministry said April 25 that it had granted Norilsk, which produces over 15 percent of the world's platinum, a long-awaited license to export. It is not yet clear whether a license has also been granted to export from state reserves.

Russia removed precious metals export quotas in January but retained laws requiring exporters to obtain a license from the ministry. Norilsk's platinum license expired at the end of 2006; its new license is effective until the end of 2008.

Johnson Matthey said in its annual report that 2007 platinum exports from Russia could drop slightly as a result of the license delay and that supply would be tight in the first half of the year.

Russian analysts said most of the losses would be recovered by year-end.

"Production and sales will be about the same level as last year, but they'll simply export a bit later," said Vladimir Katunin, analyst at brokerage Aton.

Russia last year exported 880,000 ounces of platinum, used in jewelry and car exhausts, compared with 890,000 ounces in 2005.