Platinum was the talk of the commodities world last week after mining company Lonmin, the world’s third largest producer of platinum, was touted as the target of a possible takeover bid.

The precious metal has already jumped in price by 148 per cent in the past four years.

According to Brighton precious metal dealer Michael Bloomstein, platinum cost $420 per ounce in 2002 whereas it is now trading at $1040.

The percentage increase in the price of platinum outstrips even that of gold, which is currently trading at a 25-year high. Gold traded at $280 per ounce in 2002 and is $530 now, an increase of 89 per cent.

Mr Bloomstein said the surge in interest for platinum was down to its pureness, inertness and the fact it is a recognised form of currency. The Far East is driving the demand for the so-called “noble metal”, which is used by the electronic, technology, jewellery and car industries.

He added that the high price of platinum reflected a loss of confidence in the American dollar and a feeling of uncertainty about the world in general. He said: “Traditionally when there’s a lot of instability, people go into precious metals. It has always been the case.”