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Palladium cost has increased, hitting a 16 year high

Cats for reprocessing
Will record prices affect car makers dependency on palladium?

Automakers may have to decrease the use of palladium and seek an alternative due to higher prices of the metal.


Although palladium, one of platinum’s group of metals, helps in the reduction of harmful emissions produced in combustion engines, the price increase may cause automakers to look for an alternative.

Costs of palladium have climbed to its highest in 16 years as demand for petrol vehicles rises. Palladium serves as a catalyst to convert toxic substances from combustion engines into less harmful ones.

According to the New York Mercantile Exchange, ‘palladium costs have increased to just under $900 per troy ounce, up 90% from when prices bottomed out in January 2016. If palladium prices exceed an August 2014 mark of just over $900, they will reach the highest since 2001.’

An article at asia.nikkei.com reads ‘High palladium demand "had been covered by above-ground stock," said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo branch manager at ICBC Standard Bank. The UK and Switzerland, which have plentiful storage warehouses, had a combined export surplus of 311 tons in December.’

But Russia produces 40% of the world's palladium, which will fall 3% this year compared with 2016. World demand for 2017 is expected to exceed supply by 24.4 tons.
But are we going to keep needing palladium?

Efforts are constantly being made to reduce the usage of palladium and rhodium. According to Teiji Yamada, general manager of catalysts development at Tokyo-based N.E. Chemcat. Toyota Motor plans to commercialise converter technology that relies less on precious metals such as palladium.

With the potential increase sales of electric vehicles over the coming years, is palladiums number one spot going to last or will it be replaced with some other rare earth element which will be needed in vast quantities to create new technologies?

August 2018


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