Cut to Platinum Production Hits Stillwater Mining and ETF Shares

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South Africa’s Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (known as Amplats), the world’s largest platinum miner and a division of Anglo American plc, said today that it plans to reduce production by 250,000 ounces this year and to eliminate 6,000 jobs in an effort to return the company to profitability. In the medium term, the production cut is expected to rise to 350,000 ounces annually.

Platinum prices have fallen to around $1,488 an ounce, down from nearly $1,600 a month ago and over $1,700 at the beginning of the year. Over the past 12 months, platinum prices are down about $100 an ounce.

The only U.S. platinum miner, Stillwater Mining Co. (NYSE: SWC), saw its share price rise more than 60% in the nine months through early February, but shares have declined by about 20% since then. Some of that was the result of a proxy battle led that ended up making a major change in the company’s board. But rising global stockpiles of platinum and the declining price of the white metal likely played a bigger role.

Here’s a look at how platinum and palladium ETFs have done over the last 12 months. In all but one case, the year-to-date high has dropped from its level in January, when we last looked at these funds.

The ETFS Physical Platinum Shares (NYSEMKT: PPLT) currently trades around $145.95 in a 52-week range of $135.80 to $170.78, off about 15% from a February high.

The UBS E-TRACS Long Platinum Total Return ETN (NYSEMKT: PTM) trades today at $16.64 in a 52-week range of $15.61 to $21.00, down about 21% from an October peak.

The iPath DJ-UBS Platinum Total Return Sub-index ETN (NYSEMKT: PGM) trades at $34.09 in a 52-week range of $30.55 to $39.33, down around 13%since February.

The ETFS Physical Precious Metal Basket Shares (NYSEMKT: GLTR) currently trades at $77.58 in a 52-week range of $74.24 to $102.05, down nearly 25% from an October high.

The PowerShares DB Precious Metals Fund (NYSEMKT: DBP) trades at $47.53 in a 52-week range of $45.10 to $63.80, a drop of 25% since the stock’s October peak.

The ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (NYSEMKT: PALL) trades at $69.34 in a 52-week range of $54.74 to $77.20, down 10% since a peak in March. This fund’s 52-week high improved since January, the only one of this group to achieve that.

Stillwater’s shares are down about 1.5% today at $12.21 in a 52-week range of $7.47 to $14.87. Stillwater posted its high in February, when platinum prices rose above $1,700 an ounce.

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