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Barclays: Chinese Imports Of PGMs, Silver Strong Apr 23 2014 7:36AM

Chinese March imports of platinum group metals and silver improved in March, says Barclays. PGM imports opened 2014 softly but this was due to the Lunar New Year falling in January, Barclays says. “The March numbers confirm the strength we saw in February with both platinum and palladium imports rising m/m (month-on-month),” the bank says. Platinum imports were down 8% year-on-year, but were stronger than in both January and February at some 236,000 ounces. Palladium imports were up on both a monthly and yearly basis to 77,000 ounces, their highest since November, which in turn was the highest since December 2011, the bank says. “This strength in imports aligns with auto production in China, which continues to grow,” Barclays says. “Auto sales grew in January and February, with the latest data for March showing a 9% y/y (year-on-year) rise in passenger vehicle sales. After figuring in tighter emissions standards into already growing auto production, we think China’s palladium demand could grow by 7% y/y in 2014.” Higher Chinese silver imports support expectations for increased industrial demand in 2014, Barclays says. “Silver imports in March were high, up 16% y/y to 228 (metric) tons, but down m/m after February’s two-year record level,” the bank says. “Despite a significant m/m surge in exports to 114 tons, China remains a heavy net importer.”

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