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Autocatalyst recycling contributes to a quarter to a third of all the ounces that are consumed to make new autocatalysts," Bouma says, "so it's a big part of the business, a huge part of recycling.
More important though, in terms of the amount of metal used, are the jewellery and autocatalyst markets.
In 2013, gross platinum demand is expected to see modest growth, with steady autocatalyst demand and a recovery in industrial purchasing.
The autocatalyst metal is highly exposed to the US and Chinese car markets, which have shown signs of growth recently, while platinum is more heavily used in by European carmakers, which remain under pressure.
But pent-up demand for new vehicles and cheap car financing rates will likely result in increased use of palladium in North American autocatalyst production this year.
Philip Klapwijk observes that "palladium prices are also likely to benefit from the favourable investor climate towards precious metals, while the downside may be limited as palladium's demand base in autocatalyst is less exposed to Europe and is quite broadly based geographically".
Earlier the autocatalyst metal hit a four-week high at $499.
The directive specifically requires the removal of the autocatalyst during the treatment process.
Flat autocatalyst demand and more moderate levels of purchasing in cyclical industrial applications will lead to a slight fall in gross demand.
1 Global PGM Market in the Autocatalyst Manufacturing Industry 2013-2018 09.
1 Moz as both demand from the autocatalyst sector grew and supply was squeezed.
The metal, mainly used to produce jewellery and autocatalyst, dropped to $1,377.
International companies are already investing in autocatalyst production in Russia, as the Russian market has become increasingly popular among car assemblers and manufacturers due to the large domestic market and relatively low costs of production.
Neil Carson, chief executive of Johnson Matthey, said: "Prospects for all our businesses remain very encouraging, particularly in catalysts where global concerns about pollution and climate change will continue to drive current and future sales of our autocatalyst and process catalyst products.
The bulk of the world's platinum is used by automakers in autocatalyst systems that scrub exhaust fumes of dangerous and environmentally damaging chemicals.
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