This year, one metal is eclipsing all other resources, including Bitcoin. Buying it is the difficult part for buyers.
Iridium, one of the rarest precious metals and a byproduct of platinum and palladium mining, has risen 131 percent since January 1, outperforming Bitcoin’s 85 percent gain. According to refiner Heraeus Group, it has risen as a result of supply disruptions over the last year and increasing demand for use in electronic screens.
With a far smaller market than its more well-known sisters, production problems can have a huge effect on prices. It’s also difficult to bet on it because industrial users control demand. Iridium isn’t exchanged on a stock exchange, and retail customers can only buy ingots from a few dealers. The few big investors that deal in it go straight to manufacturers.
According to Johnson Matthey Plc records, the price of iridium has risen to $6,000 per ounce – three times the cost of gold.
Part of the appeal of iridium is the low investment in platinum processing, which is mainly used in autocatalysts to minimise emissions, as investors balance possible rises in platinum demand from emerging hydrogen technologies against a move to electric vehicles.
Other platinum-group metals’ prices rose as a result of the tight supply outlook. Palladium is down about 9% from its all-time peak, while rhodium hit a new high of $29,800 per ounce this week and ruthenium rallied to an almost 13-year high.