A Deeper Look at South Africa’s Commodity Industry

South Africa is the largest economy of Africa, and it accounts for almost one-quarter of the continent’s GDP. The path to this status has not been an easy one, however, as the country languished under sanctions in the 1980s tied to the government’s apartheid policies. While South Africa has a relatively well-developed manufacturing sector by the standards of African economies (and developing economies in general), a meaningful percentage of the country’s economy still revolves around commodities [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

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What South Africa Means To The Platinum Market

Platinum generally receives less attention from investors than other precious metals, but it is rarer than gold or silver. The metal’s physical characteristics have made it important for a wide variety of industrial applications. Its resistance to corrosion, for example, makes it ideal for use in automobile catalytic converters. This use alone accounts for about 50% of its usage. In addition, it used in electronics and fuel cells. The petroleum industry uses it in the cracking process in oil refineries. And of course, platinum is used extensively in jewelry [for more platinum news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

Posted in Actionable Ideas, Asset Allocation, Commodity ETFs, Commodity Futures, Commodity Producers, Platinum, Precious Metals | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Worst-Performing Commodities In 2012

There are three primary determinants of commodity prices: supply, demand and sentiment. In the near term, if supply exceeds consumption, commodity prices tend to fall. Sentiment, or the opinion of traders that either look to hedge commodity prices to try and smooth out production costs or speculate for profit, is another important indicator that is much more difficult to gauge. For the most part, excess supply conditions are driving prices of the below commodities lower. They happen to be the worst performers so far this year, which could be due in good part to negative sentiment because in a number of cases the price is well below what the fundamentals appear to support [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

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Ultimate Guide To Palladium Investing

Palladium is an extremely rare element that was first discovered in the early 19th century. Despite a relatively short history, palladium and other platinum group metals (which include platinum, rhodium, iridium, osmium, and ruthenium) are used widely today. By some estimates, one in four products either contains a platinum group metal or uses one in the manufacturing process. Palladium, like platinum, is used widely in the manufacture of catalytic converters, creating a link between the price of the metal and the health of the global auto industry. As such, palladium as an investment vehicle has characteristics of both industrial metals such as copper and precious metals such as gold. There are a number of different options for investing in palladium, including exchange-traded futures contracts, stocks of companies engaged in the extraction and sale of the metal, and exchange-traded products [see also The Guide To The Biggest Companies In Every Major … See the full story here

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