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Drop in European Car sales hurt Platinum

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NEW YORK (Scrap Register): Platinum prices may be dinged by a decline in popularity of diesel-powered vehicles in Europe, said the consultancy Metals Focus.

Diesel-powered vehicles require platinum for catalytic converters, while those powered by gasoline can use palladium. A LMC Automotive assessment of the European diesel car market in January shows that diesel’s share of western European sales continued to fall, slipping below 40%.

Metals Focus pointed out this was the lowest since 2002 after the diesel share was around 55% seven years ago. Diesel technology’s declining market share is of added concern as it is now coupled with a drop in absolute vehicle sales, Metals Focus noted.

In previous years, in spite of this share falling almost uninterruptedly since 2011, the trend in the number of diesel vehicles sold had not always followed suit.

In the context of PGM [platinum group metals] automotive demand, platinum will most likely bear the brunt of this decline. An additional headwind for the metal is our expectation that diesel catalyst platinum loadings are unlikely to rise materially in the near term.

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