18 September 1997

FLORENCE, Italy—Expected changes in European emissions standards for passenger vehicles will boost demand for platinum group metals (PGMs, which include platinum itself as well as palladium and rhodium) used in catalysts by some by two-thirds on 1996 levels by the year 2005. Marcus Nurdin of the International Platinum Association (IPA) said, "We conservatively estimate annual demand for PGMs for auto-catalysts will exceed two million ounces by 2000 and two and a half million ounces by 2005."

Nurdin told a Eurometaux precious metals conference, annual demand for PGMs for the auto industry in 1996 amounted to one and a half million ounces. Platinum's declining share of the car industry's PGM demand has been partially offset by strong demand from the diesel fueled sector while improvements in gasoline-direct-injection vehicles (GDIs) could swing catalyst technologies back towards platinum/rhodium devices at the expense of palladium.

"Platinum demand for diesel catalysts will increase as a higher proportion of diesel vehicles are fitted with catalysts, as metal loadings (per catalyst) increase and as this market segment grows," Nurdin said. "Any forecast will be significantly impacted by the outcome of legislation currently working its way through the convoluted European legislative process," he said.

Both the European Parliament and EU environment ministers have had their first crack at the proposed emissions and fuel quality laws, with the parliament coming down much harder on European Commission proposals it said were too easy on the oil industry.

Source: Reuters