Palladium is a natural white pure precious metal with 95 percent purity. It was discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston, who named it after the asteroids Pallas.

Palladium, along with platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium form a group of elements referred to as the platinum group metals (PGMs). Platinum group metals share similar chemical properties, but palladium has the lowest melting point and is the least dense of these precious metals.

One of palladium’s most outstanding characteristics is its rarity. Estimates hold that it is some 30 times more rare than gold (annual mine production comes to a relatively modest 5 million troy ounces a year).

Another attribute is its durability. Palladium is an exceedingly strong metal and will last a lifetime, making it an ideal choice for various forms of jewelry. Although jewelry accounts for much of palladium’s use, it also plays an important role in automobile emissions controls, electronics and chemical applications.

The largest known primary reserves are in the Bushveld complex in South Africa. Other large deposits are also located in Russia and Canada. Smaller reserves can be found in the United States.

The outlook for palladium is robust as the metal has seen strong demand from the auto industry accounting for roughly 50% of  its usage. There is also strong demand for jewelry and a host of industrial applications many of which are growth markets and should continue to push prices higher. Investment demand has also increased in recent years. On the supply side output is expected to grow by 5% by the end of 2010 however this will not be able to keep up with the expected 8% increase in demand.

 
 
 
 

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