Most Precious Metals on the Market
The platinum group of metals includes rhodium, the most precious metal. It's used to give white gold jewelry a polished look as a last touch. It can be found in the same ore as gold and silver, but in much lesser concentrations.
When it comes to the design of catalytic converters, rhodium is a necessity rather than a luxury item. White gold, on the other hand, is an alloy of gold and a white metal, such as nickel, silver, or palladium, used in jewelry. To give the alloy a whiter hue, rhodium is used in an electroplating process.
Palladium, the younger brother of rhodium, fared well in the wake of the Dieselgate controversy. The price of platinum, which is largely used in diesel vehicles' catalytic converters but is also found in gasoline-friendly alloys like palladium, plummeted as diesel vehicle sales plummeted and petrol alternatives regained popularity.
Palladium is the most expensive precious metal, with gold, silver, and platinum close behind. It's more expensive than platinum, but it's more common in catalytic converters. Metals used in catalytic converters are projected to be in high demand in the near future, thanks to rising vehicle sales in Asia. Increased use of battery-electric vehicles, which don't have catalytic converters, could reduce demand for palladium.
What makes it more costly?
The increase in demand has not been met by an increase in supply. Governments, particularly in China, are tightening restrictions to combat car pollution, increasing the amount of precious metal required by automakers.
Is the price increase the result of speculators?
Partly. Hedge firms have raised their wagers on rising prices since August of last year. To be fair to producers, palladium for immediate delivery is more expensive than palladium that will be delivered later. This year, investors removed metal from exchange-traded funds backed by palladium and leased it to end users at profitable rates, resulting in net withdrawals.
Nornickel, a Russian mining firm, produced 86 metric tons of palladium in 2019, making it the world's top producer.
Read more: Will the Price of Palladium Go Up?
Gold, the precious metal you believed to be the most valuable. With its present value, gold is the third most popular metal for making jewelry. It's the first on the list, though, to have applications in both industrial and aesthetic contexts that are comparable to one another.
Gold has intrinsic worth due to its gleaming appearance, but it is also frequently used in electronics and aircraft due to its many useful properties. Even if you had all of the world's gold, you couldn't fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool with it.
Of course, gold's reputation as a valuable and renowned metal was not built overnight. As soon as the first Spanish explorers arrived in the Americas, they encountered a native people who led completely different lives and spoke a completely different language from their own. However, there was one element that united the two societies: a reverence for gold. Gold has long been used as a money and a symbol of wealth, prestige, and power in nearly every society. The modern world is no exception. Few things in our lives have as much gold as wedding bands, awards, and even money.
South Africa was the world's leading gold producer until the 1970s, but output has fallen dramatically since then. South Africa produced 32 million ounces of gold at its peak in 1970, making about two-thirds of global gold production at the time. The top three gold-producing nations are now China, Australia, and Russia.
One of the Earth's most valuable and scarce metals, iridium is produced in extremely small quantities every year (around three tonnes). In terms of density, iridium is almost as dense as the densest metal osmium while also being the most corrosion-resistant metal element.
Iridium is a difficult metal to work with because of its hardness, but those same traits that make it useful as an alloy strengthening component also make it tough to work with. In spite of its high melting point and corrosion resistance, iridium is the metal of choice for crucibles despite its catalytic properties. PGM iridium is mined as a by-product of nickel production, and the world's largest iridium reserves are located in South Africa and Russia, respectively. PGM miner's portfolios often contain only a modest amount of this rare metal due to its scarcity in the earth's crust.
In terms of total production, South Africa produces the most of this metal, which it sends to other nations for usage in a wide range of items, including watches, compasses, and other automobile parts.
Because of the Volkswagen emissions crisis, platinum-group metals' namesake is also the worst performer on the market. Platinum is primarily used in diesel catalytic converters, with the automobile industry accounting for 45% of platinum sales in 2014. After Dieselgate, consumers and manufacturers switched away from diesel, and platinum was replaced by palladium, which is more efficient in gasoline automobiles.
Due to platinum's historically higher price and relative rarity, the term "platinum" has come to be linked with a higher level of social status than gold. Gold now trades above platinum despite the former's problems.
South Africa has the majority of the world's platinum reserves, providing about three-quarters of global demand. These producers, along with others like Lonmin and Anglo-American Platinum, are the world's top three platinum producers.