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Sorry gold bugs, you should have bought palladium

Catalytic converter palladium demand
AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty
Here’s where the world’s savviest commodities investors were putting their money last quarter.
By Matt Phillips
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Gold is just a shiny rock. Sure, you can make jewelry out of it and some fancy electronic components, but the most recent surge in demand has been driven by investors. That means after being dug out of the ground at great cost, a whole lot of gold is essentially reburied in bank vaults. But palladium! Now that’s a precious metal with a purpose! (It’s one of the precious metals used in automotive catalytic converters.) And palladium prices have been surging on robust global automotive demand. Here’s a look at prices in both New York and London markets.

Palladium prices were up 10% over the last quarter, compared with declines for a range of other metals including gold and silver, Bloomberg reports:

Global car sales exceeded 80 million for the first time ever in 2012 and will advance 2.4% to 82.7 million this year, says LMC Automotive Ltd., a research company in Oxford, England. Americans will buy more for a fourth year, matching the longest run of gains since the 1940s. An average autocatalyst contains about 4 grams (0.13 troy ounce) of palladium, platinum or rhodium, according to London-based Johnson Matthey Plc, which has made one in three of them.

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