Palladium Hits 16-Month High

The price of yet another precious metal is soaring upward.

The price of palladium, which has been touted as a low-cost alternative to platinum, hit a 16-month high of $743 an ounce on Jan. 28, after reports appeared that Russia’s palladium supplies were nearly depleted. That’s the highest the metal has been since August 2011, though not as high as it climbed earlier that year.

Andy Holwell, sales and marketing manager at Johnson Matthey, says the metal’s price has been boosted by the same concerns that have also lifted the price of platinum, whose supply is being crunched by labor disruptions and mine closures in South Africa. The demand side, he says, seems steady.

“I would say palladium demand has been fairly smooth, and the Palladium Alliance has done a fairly good job of that,” he says. “I don’t think it’s taking share from platinum but it is slowly gaining ground. It is too early to see whether that is a rising trend. But the rising price won’t help if it narrows the discount from either platinum or 18 karat gold.”

Meanwhile, the price of platinum, which spent most of last year playing second fiddle to gold, now regularly trades at a premium to its traditionally less expensive sister metal.

At press time, the price of platinum was $1,676 an ounce; gold, $1,665.