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Palladium: One precious metal that’s making investors money

By Dian Vujovich

In times of financial stress the common thinking has been that a position in precious metals—namely gold—would help sustain a portfolio.  Gold, however, hasn’t exactly lived up to its “safe haven” perception but one precious metal has: Palladium.


Palladium is one of those metals no one really brags about. How many times have you heard someone say that the shiny white-gold ring they’re sporting is made of palladium? Or, that one of the reasons those goofy little test stripes diabetics use a number of times each day might be so expensive is because they contain palladium? And one more “or”, that the Canadian’s might really have made a smart move when they began using it in making of their Canadian Maple Leaf coins?


(BTW, using palladium for coinage is nothing new. Nations around the globe have used it for decades while the U.S.  passes on the notion.)


Used in dentistry, watches, surgical instruments and most often in catalytic converters and electronics, this softer than platinum metal has been making investors money this year.


A look at spot prices show gold trading around $1280; silver, $22-ish; platinum, $1387 and palladium, $716.


A look at ETF Securities Research’s recent newsletter’s performance charts for the week beginning October 14th reveal that of the four precious metal choices, palladium has been the place to be.


Based on figures from Bloomberg and Oct 11, 2013 London fixing prices, year-to-date numbers show an ounce of gold down 23.7 percent; silver off 28.11 percent; platinum, down 10.3 percent; and palladium up 1.1 percent.


Over the past 12 months, palladium’s performance shines considerably more—it’s up 9.7 percent.


Compare that with gold’s 12-month performance of down over 28 percent, silver off more than 37 percent and platinum down more than 18 percent and reconsidering which precious metal to invest in might mean seeing things differently.


From ETF’s Research: “Better than expected vehicle sales in China helped to boost the palladium price, with palladium a key component of the autocatalysis used in China’s gasoline powered vehicle engines. ”


According to the report, sales of vehicles in China  were up 20% over the past eight months ending in September. China’s jewelry sales also contributed to the palladium’s price increase. I’m guessing if those trends continue, the price of palladium might continue upwards as well.


Then again, isn’t the best time to invest when prices are in the tank as they currently are for gold and silver?


Oh, if there were only a one for-sure answer.

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