The Platinum Maple Leaf coin, as with any other of the precious metals coins from Canada, is amongst the most recognizable bullion coins that you can purchase for your portfolio.
As the Spaniards found mother lodes of gold and silver, in what is today known as Colombia, they ignored the pestilent white nuggets mixed in with the gold. “Platina” they called it, a dimunitive of the Spanish word plata, meaning silver. They experimented with ways to get rid of it, thinking it was merely “unripe gold.”
Broadly put, platinum is a soft, dense, ductile metal, and is also very resistant to corrosion. Platinum is found today in high-end jewelry, exotic forms of write, electrical contacts and nonreactive laboratory vessels. In China, generally speaking, platinum is considered the creme-de-la-creme for China, thus spurring demand.
Platinum is also important for diverse industrial applications, such as chemicals, plastics, oil refining, pollution control and more. In the future, many anticipate new uses for platinum in the fields of medical technology, exotic alloys, as well as other forms o technology and nanotechnology. Therefore, platinum has demand pressure from three economic areas: industry, jewelry, and bullion investment.
Also, putting pressure on the future supply of platinum, is that the global supply thereof is swiftly dwindling. First off, it is expensive to mine, separate and refine. In South Africa, one of the keystone producers of platinum on the globe, economic strife is leading to strikes at platinum mines and refineries.
The Platinum Maple Leaf was issued by the Royal Canadian Mint between 1988 and 2002, and reintroduced in 2009, although only in its 1 oz form. Beforehand, the coin was offered in 1/20oz, 1/15 oz (in 1994 only), 1/10 oz, ¼ oz, ½ oz, and 1 oz denominations. All of these coins were marked as containing .9995 pure platinum. The coins are legal tender in Canada, though the face value of these coins, as is so often the case with bullion coins, do not reflect the true value.
Platinum Maple Leafs come in tubes from the Royal Canadian Mint. The platinum Maple Leaf carries the same obverse and reverse designs as the Gold and Silver Maple Leaf coins. The obverse features a bust of Queen Elizabeth II, whose design changed in 1990 to feature an older portrait of the Her Majesty. In both versions, her name appears at the top with the denomination of the coin and the date of issue underneath the bust. Featured on the reverse is the national symbol of Canada. The reverse also lists the name of the country and the amount and purity of the gold.
Through the first month of 2013, platinum was the second best performing asset YTD.
Demand for platinum ranges from catalytic converters for automobiles to a stalwart jewelry demand that is growing due to economic strength in the east.
Gross demand for platinum from the global jewelry industry grew in 2012 by 10% to 2.73 million ounces, the highest since 2009, according to Johnson Matthey’s recent “Platinum 2012 Interim Review.”
With precious metals prices rising, jewelry manufacturing in China has expanded to become the biggest market for such platinum product. Demand for platinum jewelry is anticipated to rise by 25% to 100,000 oz.
Considering recycling of old retailer stock and consumer pieces, net platinum jewelry demand in China is expected to grow by 16% to 1.42 million ounces. Platinum purchases by the Chinese jewelry industry through the Shanghai Gold Exchange and Hong Kong traders ran at a three-year high in the first eight months of the year due to low prices.
Driving the demand in part, new Hong Kong jewelry brands have increased the need for manufacture stocks of platinum jewelry. Demand is stalwart throughout mainland China.