Precious Metal Market: Overview
Precious metals are naturally occurring metals that are relatively rare and difficult to find. The rarity of precious metals has traditionally given them a high economic value throughout history. Precious metals are valued for as investments, art, jewelry, and commodities. These metals possess high luster and are usually ductile. Thus, they tend to be less reactive than most elements. Precious metals are primarily regarded as investments and industrial commodities. Platinum group metals and gold are some of the prominent precious metals. Coinage metals such as silver and gold are consumed in industrial applications. These metals are known for their usage in jewelry and art.
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Precious Metal Market: Key Segments
The precious metal market can be segmented based on type, end-user industry, and region. Based on type, the precious metal market can be divided into rhodium, platinum, gold, ruthenium, iridium, osmium, palladium, rhenium, silver, and indium. Based on end-use industry, the precious metal market can be segregated into automotive, electronics, jewelry, chemicals, and others. Precious metals such as gold are widely utilized as investment options due to its esthetics. Gold is used in stock market as commodity for conducting financial transactions. Palladium is largely employed as catalytic converter in the automotive industry. It is also used in the manufacture of electronics. Furthermore, it is used in making surgical equipment.
Precious Metal Market: Drivers & Restraints
One of the major restraints of precious metal is maintaining the shiny luster and its color. Precious metals become impure if they are not appropriately polished. They lose their luster, thereby making them dull. Precious metals is a capital intensive business. Thus, new technologies and innovations are emerging to improvise the quality of precious metal and lower its costs.
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Precious Metal Market: Regional Outlook
In terms of region, Asia Pacific is the major producer as well as consumer of gold; the metal is significantly consumed in countries such as China and India. High growth of these emerging economies and rise in disposable income of the people are major drivers of the precious metal market. Changes in lifestyle and esthetic value of precious ornaments have boosted the demand for precious metal. In terms of demand, Europe is one of the key regions of the global precious metal market. Countries such as Germany, the U.K., France, and Italy have invested substantially in mining of precious metals. Recent war events and rebellions in countries in the Middle East such as Syria, Egypt, and Libya have boosted investments in bullion (gold bars). This has resulted in overselling of gold, thereby augmenting the price of gold across the globe. Global supply of gold is a combination of scrap recovery, central-bank supply, and mined gold; of this, mined gold accounts for more than 50% of the supply. Of late, countries in Africa have been producing precious metals in large quantities. Madagascar, Tanzania, and South Africa possess rich reserves of precious metals. The usage of precious metals is anticipated to increase in countries in the Middle East and Latin America in the near future.
Precious Metal Market: Key Players
Key players operating in the precious metal market include Barrick Gold, First Quantum Minerals, Goldcorp Freeport McMoran Inc., and Harmony Gold Mining Company.