Platinum and palladium have posted gains so far in 2017 alongside their precious cousins, gold and silver. Platinum and palladium are not only precious but they are industrial metals. The rarity of the platinum group metals puts them in a class by themselves.

With a high resistance to heat and high density these rare elements have a myriad of industrial uses. They clean poison from the air we breathe in automobile catalytic converters. Their high melting points make them the perfect metals for catalysts in oil refineries. Then there are the medical applications in imaging and certain chemotherapies. However, when it comes down to the path of least resistance for the prices of platinum and palladium it is investment demand that ultimately determines if they appreciate or depreciate each year.

Compared to gold and silver, the markets for platinum and palladium are much smaller. Therefore, the supply and demand characteristics of these markets can cause wild price swings at time. While they tend to move higher or lower in sympathy with gold and silver, sometimes they decide to move on their own. Palladium traded to an all-time high in early 2001 when the metal hit $1009 per ounce. Platinum reached its all-time peak in 2008 at $2308.80. When these platinum group metals hit their highs, gold was trading at a considerably lower price than its current levels. Sometimes the PGMs follow their precious cousins and sometimes they do not. However, as industrial commodities it may be only a matter of time before platinum and palladium shine brighter than gold and silver and we could be on the verge of seeing that type of price action sooner rather than later.

The price of platinum has been moving steadily higher since trading below $900 per ounce in late December 2016. Last week, platinum moved to a high of $1032.10 above the technical resistance on the daily pictorial that stood at the November 9 highs at $1026.40 per ounce. 

Source: Seeking Alpha

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