According to Johnson Matthey's "Platinum 2012" released this week, gross platinum demand rose by 2% in 2011 to 251.8 tonnes with growth in every sector apart from investment. Jewellery manufacturers bought 77.1 tonnes of platinum last year.
Conventionally, platinum prices have always been ahead of gold but the upsurge in gold prices in recent years has brought the two precious metals at par with each other. Industry experts strongly believe that platinum as a metal has been witnessing stabilized growth in India since 2000. In 2011, platinum jewellery consumption climbed up to 40-50 percent. In the futures market, though platinum has fallen as low as 21 percent, analysts are confident that it could outperform gold over a 12-month period.
Though India's platinum market is still a bit modest in size, the demand for this metal is rising steadily. Platinum demand is increasing by more than 20% year-on-year basis but it will still take India years to rival the world's biggest consumer China. India imported 15 tonnes of platinum in 2011 – just under 8 percent of total global supply – half of which went into producing catalytic converters for cars and the balance into jewellery making, investment and industrial applications. India's platinum jewellery consumption witnessed a strong growth of 45% to 50% in the past year.
According to Platinum Guild International, there are close to 422 outlets in India offering platinum jewellery. Some of the prominent players include TBZ, B.C. Sen Jewellers, Bhima Jewellers, C. Krishniah Chetty & Sons, Chemmanur Fashion Jewellers, Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers, Tanishq, Kalyan Jewellers, Prince Jewellery, Joyalukkas, Jos Alukkas, GRT Jewellers, Lagu Bandhu Motiwale among others. According to Johnson Matthey's "Platinum 2012", in India, an increase in retail outlets offering platinum and rising consumer purchases drove platinum jewellery demand up by a third to 2.5 tonnes in 2011.
In India, platinum is imported in the form of bars and jewellery.
To cash in on the growing popularity of platinum in India, National Spot Exchange has launched platinum contracts for trade called e-Platinum aimed at making platinum affordable and accessible to investors.