This ‘Rodney Dangerfield of Metals’ Deserves Your Respect

Sean Brodrick

Gold and silver may be the metals of kings. But if you’re looking for potentially royal returns on bullion bars and coins, you may want to consider adding a “noble” (that is, durable) metal to your collection: palladium.

Investors increasingly seeking refuge in bullion as personal stores of wealth have pushed gold and silver prices ever-higher. Meanwhile, platinum is 15 times more-rare than gold, and palladium is even more rare than platinum, at 30 times rarer than the yellow metal. And yet, palladium costs less than half of gold’s current price!

I like to think of palladium as the Rodney Dangerfield of metals, because it doesn’t get the respect it deserves. This presents us with a terrific opportunity to buy while no one else is looking.

If you’re looking to add some diversity to your precious-metals portfolio, palladium looks like an investment that’s as durable as the metal itself. Here’s why …

This White Metal Is Getting Red-Hot!

Palladium demand is rising, as more of it is purchased for use in catalytic converters, its No. 1 use.

At the same time, supplies from mines in Russia and South Africa remain tight.

According to experts at Johnson Matthey, the gap between supply and demand for palladium this year is near 915,000 troy ounces, as production dropped 6 percent. That means palladium stockpiles are down … and dropping.

Next year, a growing shortfall in supply could send prices another 20 percent higher, according to analysts.

And while most of palladium demand currently comes from the auto industry, there is also plenty of demand from the investment community.

Nearly 1.9 million ounces of palladium are held by ETFs, the COMEX metals market, banks and other funds that make their holdings public.

Considering that only 6.6 million ounces of palladium are produced by mines every year, that’s quite a bit of investor interest.

Johnson Matthey expects prices to range between $550 and $750 per troy ounce in the first part of 2013. One troy ounce currently costs in the high-$600 range.

Palladium is hypo-allergenic, which makes it appealing for wedding bands and other pieces that get continuous wear.
Palladium is hypo-allergenic, which makes it appealing for wedding bands and other pieces that get continuous wear.

One reason for palladium’s investment appeal is steady demand among jewelry buyers, where the research group anticipates sales will be “relatively strong” at 45,000 ounces in North America, and 450,000 ounces worldwide.

Why Palladium Shines as the Metal to Buy ‘Now’

Many in the jewelry industry call palladium the “Now Metal,” as consumers are increasingly turning to it for a unique, high-quality piece of jewelry, but without the hefty price tag.

Unlike gold, palladium is naturally silver-hued without the need for alloys such as those found in white gold. And unlike silver, palladium does not tarnish or lose its shine.

The Best Way to Get Invested

How do you determine a fair price to pay for this white, and white-hot, metal? The ETFS Physical Palladium Shares Fund (PALL) is a great starting place, as it represents one-tenth of palladium’s per-ounce spot price.

Palladium chart

(Updated chart)

Looking at a weekly chart, you can see that the physical palladium fund PALL seems poised to rise to overhead resistance. If it can push through that resistance, it could head up to a target of $92. And on the bottom of the chart, you can see that palladium has outperformed gold recently.

But with palladium itself trading at a substantial discount to gold, about $1,000 less per troy ounce, you may want to consider buying the metal outright. Here’s how …

Consider Buying Palladium Bullion in Bars, Ingots or Coins

One place to buy palladium bullion is at your local gold dealer. Just check the price of palladium at an online website like Kitco.com to make sure you aren’t being charged too high a premium.

Buying from a dealer is an extra level of security, because your dealer should check on the authenticity of the bullion before passing it along to you.

There are plenty of reputable online dealers. But one thing I DO NOT recommend you do is buy palladium or any precious metal on eBay. It’s too easy to get ripped off when the chain of custody of the metal you want to buy is in question.

I think diversification is key when investing in palladium. The metal’s future is shaping up to be a very bright one. And for those who own it in one of its many physical forms, it could serve as an attractive store of wealth for generations to come.

All the best,

Sean Broderick

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