Platinum jewellery consumption in India during the third quarter of 2020 fell by 40% (-8 koz) to 12 koz, a third consecutive quarterly drop as the spread of Covid-19 weighed heavily on the country’s economy and consumer sentiment, according to the latest Platinum Quarterly report published by the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC).

WPIC attributed the underperformance of fabrication versus consumption in the last two quarters to weak demand expectations and a pessimistic outlook for the economy, which has resulted in retailers delaying inventory replenishment.

Despite this weakness, some positive signs are also emerging, WPIC affirmed. Due to higher margins compared to gold jewellery, retailers have started to aggressively market platinum jewellery. In addition, consumers have taken a renewed interest in platinum, due to the attractive discount to gold at the retail level, seen in some cases at 25-30%, WPIC said.

Global platinum jewellery demand bounced back by 27% quarter-on-quarter as pandemic-related restrictions eased. However, the total remained 3% (-16 koz) below the prior year as heavy losses in North America and India outweighed a 14% (+29 koz) increase in China.

Platinum jewellery demand in 2020 is forecast to be 13% down on 2019, as the expected 4% (+22 koz) growth in Q4 will fail to make much of a dent in year-to-date losses.

Platinum jewellery demand in 2021 is forecast to increase by 13% (+246 koz), with all regions seeing double-digit growth. This would leave total demand 28 koz down on the 2019 pre-Covid-19 level, reflecting some lingering pandemic effects and lower sales due to expected higher platinum prices, WPIC noted.