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].
The six metals of the platinum group are some of the least abundant of Earth’s known elements, occurring in close association with one another, and where nickel and copper are found. Of the platinum group metals (known as “PGM”), platinum and palladium are found in the largest quantities and are the most economically significant. Less than ten significant PGM mining companies exist; South Africa is the largest producer, followed by Russia and North America.
Last week saw no shortage of activity in global equity markets–not by a long shot. Greece once again dominated the headlines, as a back-and-forth plan for a referendum took markets by surprise on multiple times throughout the week, ultimately ending with a plan that seemed to point to Greece’s continued inclusion in the currency bloc. The ongoing debt saga in Europe distracted investors in part from an abundance of activity on the domestic front, including another major bankruptcy and a long-awaited IPO to close out the week.
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 →
Platinum is one of the rarest metals on earth, found in even smaller quantities than silver or gold. Though it receives less attention from investors than other precious metals, platinum is an interesting option because it is used widely in a number of industrial applications; most notably, this metal is a key component of automobiles. There are a number of different options for investing in platinum, including exchange-traded futures contracts, stocks of companies engaged in the extraction and sale of the metal, and both physically-backed and futures-based exchange-traded products.