The six platinum group metals are ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum. They have similar physical and chemical properties, and tend to occur together in the same mineral deposits.
All we ever hear about is the price of gold and how it’s used as an investment vehicle. My understanding is that the platinum group metals are more valuable than gold. I was wondering how viable these are for investment tools, especially for buying the metal ingots or coins, if they make those?
It depends. They have possibly more industrial purposes and often greater fluctuation than gold. Right this moment platinum is a little higher, palladium is “dirt cheap” at like $367 and rhodium is $2280
Check some of the historical charts at www.kitco.com
At least two of the three are available in coin form and in our stock at the moment; platinum and palladium. They are good investments most times and if you have the desire to buy and sell more often, more along the lines of what you would want than gold (IMHO).
Something I should have added to my post but --------- I have a basic distrust of any sites offering to sell me an investment. I like sites with historical charts and articles and information - from there I make my own decisions and find my own sources. My linking of kitco wasn’t because I endorse them as a supplier of metals; rather as a supplier of very accurate historical charts of market prices.
All *you *ever hear about, maybe. Here, the market price of platinum is always listed on the news right after gold’s, and right before oil. This could just be a factor of living in South Africa, though.
Another problem with them as an investment is that there is something like 100 years’ supply proven reserve (of platinum, anyways-- I believe the other PGM’s are similar). Even though it’s relatively rare and difficult to extract, so they’re expensive, we really don’t use that much of them. After all, the US has the second largest reserve of them in the Stillwater Complex in Montana and there’s only one dinky little mine there because it’s so much cheaper to extract in South Africa. If the very high prices were really just a matter of scarcity, you can bet we’d be mining it here in larger volumes.
With gold, there’s less than a 10 year proven supply, so part of what you’re gambling on with a gold investment is that demand is going to out-strip expansion of production. With platinum-group metals, they can expand production whenever they want (not overnight, but over the long term), so the price is never going to skyrocket to the degree that gold can.
But again – look at the history and be prepared.
Very good post. And, we use Kitco at work(coin and jewelry buying/selling store) because of their reliability in providing accurate, unbiased current quotes and historical data.
Well, if you visit the Kitco website and look at the historical charts for platinum, you see that it went from $450 US/ounce in Dec. 2001 to $2200 US/ounce in Dec 2007. Fivefold increase in six years. Skyrocket might not be the term, but hell of a climb.
And, a year later, it’s down from $2200 to $800. Whoops! Bad move buying in at above $2000.
The price of gold may have “skyrocketed” over the last few years, but come back in another 2-3 years and give us an update. It “skyrocketed” back in 1979-1980, then tanked for the next 25 years.
Investing in all precious metals is subject to huge swings in price and, if you choose to buy at the wrong time, your investment is more like an albatross.
I did see that site. I guess what I was sort of trying to say is that variation in the price of gold actually has a basis in demand/usage versus supply/reserves whereas as near as I can tell the variation in these metals is entirely driven on either short term changes in usage or simple speculation.
I gently disagree. The price of gold has “skyrocketed” due to one import factor–the fall of the US dollar against a basket of other currencies. Well, not totally, but that’s the driving force. That and the uncertainty about what’s going on economically in the world. I personally think that the current upsurge in gold is 1/3 simple speculation vis-a-vis the meltdown of the global economy last year, and the uncertainty of this year–1/3 the fall of the dollar against other currencies, and perhaps 1/3 supply.
I’m going to gently disagree as well. Based on what they are used for, I would not have been surprised to see gold and silver drop. Gold has been replaced for many industrial purposes; same thing for silver. (with digital cameras, the use of silver in things like film has tanked) Where you could before take a SWAG at how gold was headed based on what industries were hot, now its a real crap shoot. Sam and I don’t just share a profession - we share the same hunch in “gold is 1/3 simple speculation vis-a-vis the meltdown of the global economy last year, and the uncertainty of this year–1/3 the fall of the dollar against other currencies, and perhaps 1/3 supply.”
(I just didn’t figure on the economy being as bad as it is. That, more than anything else I think, is what is fueling the current prices.)