Palladium prices have never known such glittering heights. The silvery-white precious metal is now $1,351.40 an ounce: more expensive than gold ($1,283.75 an ounce) or platinum ($792.30 an ounce), and just a little cheaper than iridium ($1,460 an ounce) and rhodium ($2,460).
As Bloomberg reports, palladium has surged around 50% in the past four months. A decade ago, it cost less than $200 an ounce.
About 80% of all palladium winds up in the exhaust systems of cars—it helps turn nasty pollutants into more benign water vapor and carbon dioxide. (The metal has also occasionally been used for jewelry, particularly during World War II, where a scarcity of platinum led it to be used in wedding bands.)
Two years ago, market researchers predicted that palladium had already hit its peak. Instead, it’s only continued to become more valuable—bolstered by the Volkswagen emission scandal, and China’s new emissions regulations, which have affected how the country’s cars are made.
In the past, palladium prices were held in a kind of dynamic equilibrium with platinum. While palladium is used in cars fueled by gasoline, platinum is the metal of choice for catalytic converters in diesel cars. This long looked unlikely to change: For European customers, and especially Germans, owning a diesel car meant saving money at almost every turn.
For the rest of this article: https://qz.com/1530156/the-diesel-emissions-scandal-helped-make-palladium-more-valuable-than-gold/