Platinum Prices

Platinum is a precious metal that’s nearly as rare as gold, and gold and platinum prices are often very close to one another. While the Earth’s crust has a comparable concentration of both gold and platinum (at 0.004 and 0.005 ppm respectively), far less platinum has been mined. Denser and heavier than both gold and silver, platinum is renowned for its durability and ductility. [4]

Since the annual mining output of gold is far above that of platinum, [3] you’ll find the latter is often a better choice if you’re interested in investing in precious metals. Learn more about judging and following platinum prices so you can make wise choices for your portfolio.

Factors That Influence Platinum Prices

The price of platinum is constantly fluctuating, influenced by a wide range of factors including: [1]

  • The state of the economy
  • Political events
  • The strength of different currencies
  • Market supply and demand
  • Interest rates
  • Macro-economic trends
  • Monetary and fiscal policy
  • Foreign relations
  • Indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average

Key Events That Have Influenced Platinum Prices

The perceived value of platinum has changed drastically throughout history as people learned more about this precious metal. Once regarded as useless, platinum has now vaulted to a superior status, showing itself to be more valuable than both gold and silver in many applications.

  • 16th Century: Spanish explorers mining for gold in the New World discovered platinum, but dubbed it a nuisance and tossed it back into the water so it could ‘ripen.’ [4]
  • 18th Century: Antonio de Ulloa was credited with the discovery of platinum, having found it on a 1735 trip through Columbia and Peru. He established the first mineralogy lab in Spain and began studying the metal in 1748. [4, 5]
  • 1774: Platinum was established as an element. [5]
  • 1786: King Louis XVI declared that platinum was ‘the metal of kings.’ He commissioned several pieces made from this precious metal, and its popularity soared. [8, 9]
  • 1788: King Carlos III of Spain commissioned a platinum chalice for Pope Pius VI, cementing its reputation as a valuable metal. [8]
  • 1828-1845: The Russian government began minting coins from platinum. The 3 Roubles coins were minted for circulation while coins valued at 6 Roubles and 12 Roubles were produced primarily for collectors or diplomatic gifts. [6]
  • 1845: The Russian government demonetized the platinum coins, and they were sent to European refineries for reworking. [7]
  • 1888: Platinum was discovered in Ontario, Canada among copper and nickel deposits. [4, 5]
  • 1890: Cartier introduced all-platinum luxury jewelry, highlighting the metal’s outstanding combination of malleability and strength, which led to a renewed surge in interest for platinum products. [10]
  • 1924: The largest deposit of platinum in the world was discovered in South Africa’s Bushveld Igneous Complex. Today, 75% of the world’s platinum comes from this location. [5, 8]
  • 1942: The United States government declared platinum a strategic metal, useful for explosives, armaments, rifle parts and engine parts in WWII. The government prohibited platinum’s use for jewelry. [8, 10]
  • 1975: Platinum prices spiked following the Arab Oil Embargo. Tanaka Kikinzouku Kogyo KK in Japan introduced platinum bullion bars for investors. [15]
  • 1983: The Isle of Man Noble coin was first released for investors. The coin was minted by the Pobjoy Mint through 1989. [14]
  • 1988: Canada’s Platinum Maple Leaf and Australia’s platinum Koala coins were released and met with high demand. [14]
  • 1997: The U.S. Mint launched the Platinum American Eagle, its first platinum bullion coin. [15]

The Value of Platinum

Platinum has a wealth of uses around the globe, which increases its value in proportion to the demand for these products.

  • Platinum accounts for more than 40% of the wedding and engagement ring market. [11]
  • About 25% of all goods made in factories contain or utilize platinum. [11]
  • Platinum is one of just two metallic materials proven completely safe when implanted in the human body. [12]
  • Platinum is used in dental inlays, stents, implantable defibrillators and catheters. [13]
  • Platinum compounds cisplatin, oxaliplatin and carboplatin have been used in cancer treatments. [13]

How Platinum Is Priced Today

You can look up platinum on a variety of platforms to find the current spot price for this precious metal. Platinum is priced by the troy ounce. The spot price refers to platinum that’s available for delivery now, rather than on speculations on the future availability of platinum.  The spot price is based on the most active near month futures contract with the greatest trading volume.

Platinum is traded across several exchanges including New York, Hong Kong, Sydney and Zurich. It is in a constant state of price discovery. Platinum prices update every few seconds from Sunday through Friday between 6:00 PM EST and 5:15 PM EST. This means that platinum prices are only static:

  • From 5:15 PM EST to 6:00 PM EST Monday through Thursday
  • From 5:15 PM EST Friday to 6:00 PM EST Sunday

Ways to Purchase Platinum

Platinum is available in several forms, including:

  • Platinum bullion bars or rounds: Platinum in this form offers some of the lowest premiums. Platinum bullion bars are available from such notable mints as the Pamp Suisse, Credit Suisse and Engelhard mints. [2]
  • Platinum bullion coins: Made into coins, you’ll find platinum in many stunning forms with historic, patriotic or otherwise meaningful imagery, such as the American Platinum Eagle or Platinum Canadian Maple Leaf.
  • Paper platinum: Available as ETFs or certificates, this type of investment is simply a piece of paper that indicates a financial institution is holding onto a particular amount of platinum for the holder.

When purchasing platinum, you’ll pay the ask price. If you’re selling platinum, you will receive the bid price. The difference between the two is known as the bid-ask spread. A smaller spread indicates an asset with greater liquidity. [16]

Platinum is an outstanding choice for investing because its usefulness is sure to help it retain its value long into the future. Keep a close eye on fluctuating platinum prices so you can identify the best time to invest in this precious metal.


Article Sources

1. Investopedia. ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Precious Metals,’ https://www.investopedia.com/articles/basics/09/precious-metals-gold-silver-platinum.asp. Accessed October 23, 2020.

2. TIAA Bank. ‘Platinum Bars,’ https://www.tiaabank.com/investing/platinum-bars. Accessed October 23, 2020.

3. The Balance. ‘Platinum vs. Gold,’ https://www.thebalance.com/platinum-versus-gold-808974. Accessed October 23, 2020.

4. Mining[Dot]Com. The history of platinum, https://www.mining.com/the-history-of-platinum-88735/. September 1, 2020.

5. Platinum: Element 78. The History of Platinum, https://thenoblemetal.weebly.com/history.html. Accessed September 1, 2020.

6. Original Skin Coins. The World’s Only Circulating Platinum Coin,https://www.originalskincoins.com/blogs/news/platinum-3-roubles-russia. Accessed September 1, 2020.

7. Johnson Matthey Technology Review. The Minting of Platinum Roubles, https://www.technology.matthey.com/article/50/3/120-129/. Accessed September 1, 2020.

8. Antique Jewelry University. Platinum, https://www.langantiques.com/university/platinum-2/. Accessed September 1, 2020.

9. H. Cross Company. History of Platinum, https://www.hcrosscompany.com/precious-metals-and-alloys/platinum/. Accessed September 1, 2020.

10. Gem-A. The Fascinating History of Platinum Jewellery, https://gem-a.com/gem-hub/gem-knowledge/platinum-jewellery-history-lang-antiques. Accessed September 1, 2020.

11. Jewelpedia. The History of Platinum, https://www.jewelpedia.net/the-history-of-platinum/. Accessed September 1, 2020.

12. Johnson Matthey Technology Review. Platinum in Cardiac Pacemakers,https://www.technology.matthey.com/article/17/2/64-65/. Accessed September 1, 2020.

13. ThermoFisher Scientific. Could Platinum Group Metals Save Your Life? https://www.thermofisher.com/blog/metals/could-platinum-group-metals-save-your-life. Accessed September 1, 2020.

14. Bullion.Org. ‘Directory of Platinum Bullion Coins,’ http://www.bullion.org/platinum/directoryofplatinumbullioncoins.html. Accessed October 23, 2020.

15. AZO Materials. Platinum History and Investment, https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=1210. Accessed September 1, 2020.

16. ETF.com. ‘Understanding Spreads and Volume,’ https://www.etf.com/etf-education-center/etf-basics/understanding-spreads-and-volume. Accessed October 23, 2020.