Have you ever wondered what are the major precious metals? Which is the most expensive metal in the world? And, how you could invest in precious metals?
To give you a comprehensive view, we have listed the 10 most expensive precious metals in the world in which to invest.
Ever wondered why people keep their gold pieces in safes? And why your family silverware is always so well protected?
Well, that’s obviously because gold and silver are two precious metals. That you already know…
But what about other metals? There are other substances equally precious, even more, precious than gold, that you must get to know better and maybe consider as potential future investments.
So, here’s a list of the top 10 most precious metals in the world that you might be considering for potential future investments.
Introduction to Rhodium
Sir William Hyde Wollaston was an English physicist and chemist, and he is famous for discovering palladium and rhodium. While palladium has gone on to become a highly tradable commodity in the world market, rhodium is less well known.
After it was discovered back in 1804, scientists of the time didn’t really have much use for it. It is very rare, for one thing. Another problem with rhodium is that it is very difficult to shape. It is not malleable and it has a high melting point.
But as the years passed, it was used as electroplating for jewelry and for corrosion-resistant coating. And when the catalytic converter was invented in 1976, demand for the metal increased substantially, as it was deemed necessary for the manufacture of this new vital automotive component.
Who are the largest producers Rhodium:
South Africa, Russia, Canada and Zimbabwe provide the bulk of world production.
What is Rhodium used for:
1 – Catalytic converters: The most common use for this metal is for the production of catalytic converters as it reduces nitrogen oxides in exhaust gases.
Other uses include:
2 – Glass industry: This is the second most common use for the metal, as it is used to produce flat-panel glass and fiberglass.
3 – Rhodium flashing is when it is electroplated on platinum or white gold so it has a reflective surface, which wears a way after a time. It can also coat sterling silver to protect it from tarnishing. Sometimes it can even denote a truly special award, when gold, silver, and bronze are deemed insufficient.
4 – Industrial catalyst: It has also been used this way for the chemical reactions of acetic acid, nitric acid, and hydrogenation reaction.
5 – Alloying agent: It is used with other metals like palladium and platinum. Its properties make these alloys tough and resistant to corrosion. These alloys can be found in the electrodes in aircraft spark plugs, thermocouple elements, furnace windings, and lab crucibles.
6 – Electrical contact: This is because the metal has high corrosion resistance, low electrical resistance, and low and stable contact resistance.
7 – Plated rhodium: In this form, it is extremely hard. It is used for optical instruments.
8 – Mammography systems: It produces X-rays that make it suitable as a filter in mammography systems.
9 – Neutron detectors: There are 305 rhodium neutron detectors in the 3 Palo Verde nuclear reactors.
Price history of Rhodium:
Rhodium is relatively expensive because it is very rare. It is 100 times rarer than gold and more than 150 times rarer than silver.
Its price is highly dependent on demand from the automotive industry.
Every new car today has a catalytic converter that contains this metal and so the value of rhodium is very much associated with the demand from the automotive industry. As new markets emerge and sales of new cars grow, so does the demand (and therefore the price) for the metal.
But the price can also be affected by the level of supply. Oversupply has led to lower prices. This was demonstrated when South Africa increased its production to take advantage of high prices during the 1980s.
South Africa is the world’s largest producer of the metal, as it accounts for about 60% of the world’s supply. The country’s decision to boost production has kept the price low during the 1990s.
At the same time, any threat to the supply can boost the price.
The second largest producer is Russia, and sometimes the stability of that supply line has boosted the price of the metal. A mining strike in South Africa also propped up prices, but when it ended the country boosted production which dropped prices immediately afterwards.
Historically, the price is very volatile. In 2007 the metal was about 8 times more valuable than gold, 450 times more than silver, and an astounding 27,250 times more than copper in terms of per troy ounce. At some point in 2008 its price even reached over $10,000 per ounce. These prices, however, declined during the global financial crisis that started during this time.
How can I invest in Rhodium:
It actually was not possible to invest in the metal until recently. It could not be purchased using futures contracts or by purchasing stocks in exchange-traded funds that dealt with the metal. It also wasn’t physically available for the world market.
That changed in 2009 when investment-grade (0.999-fine) bullion bars and rounds became available.
Today, you can even buy various fractional bars with options ranging from 5 ounces to 0.1 ounce.
1 – Buy and Hold: Thus, you can always buy physical bars of the metal itself and you can store it for a time until the prices again increase. That may come soon, as regions across the world are enacting tighter emission controls. This increases the growth of the emission control catalyst market, the worth of which is projected to reach $14 billion.
2 – ETFs: In 2011, an ETF was also launched by Deutsche Bank that was back by physical bars of the metal (XRHO: LN).
As an investor, you simply need to keep track of new automotive sales to gauge the demand for rhodium.
Introduction to Platimum:
Naturally occurring platinum and platinum-rich alloys have been known for a long time. The Spaniards named the metal “platina,” or little silver, when they first encountered it in Colombia. They regarded platinum as an unwanted impurity in the silver they were mining.
The catalytic properties of the six Platinum Group Metals (PGM i.e. iridium, osmium, palladium, platinum, rhodium, and ruthenium) are outstanding. Platinum’s wear and tarnish resistance characteristics are well suited for making fine jewelry.
Other distinctive properties include resistance to chemical attack, excellent high-temperature characteristics, and stable electrical properties. All these properties have been exploited for industrial applications.
Who are the largest producers of Platinum:
Russia, South Africa, Canada the United States and other mineral processing countries.
What is Platinum used for:
Platinum, platinum alloys, and iridium are used as crucible materials for the growth of single crystals, especially oxides.
1 – Chemical industry: The chemical industry uses a significant amount of either platinum or a platinum-rhodium alloy catalyst in the form of gauze to catalyze the partial oxidation of ammonia to yield nitric oxide, which is the raw material for fertilizers, explosives, and nitric acid.
In recent years, a number of PGM (Platinum Group Metals) have become important as catalysts in synthetic organic chemistry. Ruthenium dioxide is used as coatings on dimensionally stable titanium anodes used in the production of chlorine and caustic.
Platinum supported catalysts are used in the refining of crude oil, reforming, and other processes used in the production of high-octane gasoline and aromatic compounds for the petrochemical industry.
2 – Automotive industry: Since 1979, the automotive industry has emerged as the principal consumer of PGM. Palladium, platinum, and rhodium have been used as oxidation catalyst in catalytic converters to treat automobile exhaust emissions. A wide range of PGM alloy compositions is used in low-voltage and low-energy contacts, thick- and thin-film circuits, thermocouples and furnace components, and electrodes.
3 – Jewelry: And then there is jewelry. It is very popular for several reasons, aside from the fact that it is expensive and therefore valuable. It is quite fashionable among the trendy set because it is not as ubiquitous as gold and silver, and it comes with its own understated elegance. It is also durable, so it can be worn safely every day. It resists tarnish, and it’s even hypoallergenic.
Price history of Platinum:
The appeal of the shiny, silvery white platinum is undeniable, and it is one of the main reasons it is integral to the jewelry industry.
The Mayans used it as jewelry. But for the early European explorers, it was rather a nuisance.
It was regarded as an impurity when they mined gold in the Americas. However, by the 1700s scientific interest in the new metal grew, and scientists found interesting characteristics that made it valuable.
Aside from the fact that it had its own beauty that is distinct from gold and silver, it was also heavier than the other two metals. What fascinated the scientists was that it was very durable. It didn’t react much to other elements, and it is resistant to corrosion, tarnish and wear. It also had a very high melting point. It was more ductile than even copper, and next to gold and silver it is the most malleable of all metals.
The other reason for its high price is the great demand for the metal. It has numerous industrial uses, and most notably as a catalyst. Thus, the demand for the metal is tremendous in the automotive industry, because all new automobiles have a catalytic converter that contains this metal. The catalytic converter is necessary because it helps the gasoline burn more efficiently, and it reduces the amount of dangerous substances released in the air. Right now, the growth of the automotive industry in emerging markets such as China has boosted the price of the metal.
That is not to mention that it is also very popular as jewelry. It’s called “white gold” for a reason. While the traditionalists hold fast with their fascination for gold and silver, the younger generation distinguishes itself by opting for platinum in their jewelry instead. It is why in markets like India, this type of jewelry is on the rise.
How can I invest in Platinum:
You can invest in Platinum in several ways.
1 – Buy and hold bars and coins: You can own the platinum directly, and this is feasible because it comes with a very high price per ounce. That makes storage affordable, and you can buy bars and coins. You can also engage in futures trading, as you try to anticipate the price movements in the future.
3 – ETFs: You can also buy shares in ETFs that invest in these kinds of trading methods.
4 – Jewelry: Buying platinum jewelry makes also a lot of sense. It adds to your overall fashion style and it is also great as an investment.
Platinum can be a very attractive investment for several good reasons.
1 – It can be a safe haven for currency, so it can function as a backup against inflation.
2 – The price of the metal can undergo spikes in either direction, so profits can be made if the investor can correctly predict the future increase or decrease in the prices.
3 – The metal is heavily tied in to the state of the automotive industry and to jewelry trends, so it shouldn’t be difficult to anticipate higher demand.
Introduction to Gold:
The Incas call it “the tears of the Sun.” In his Iliad and Odyssey, Homer described it as a sign of wealth among humans, and the glory of the Immortals.
Because of its desirability, durability and malleability, gold remains one of the most popular metals and investment options.
Gold is usually separated from surrounding rocks and minerals by gold mining equipment and activities like panning, upon which the metal is extracted with a combination of chemical reactions, smelting and Gold Refining process.
Who are the largest producers of Gold:
What is Gold used for:
Gold is used today in many ways.
1 – Jewelry: Gold is often used as jewelry (obviously).
2 – Electronic devices: Because it is a very efficient conductor, it is found in almost all electronic devices including cellphones, TVs, and computers.
3 – Dental industry: It is also used as filling in the dental industry, and in fact it’s been used in dentistry since 700 BC.
4 – Aerospace industry: It is also widely used in the aerospace industry, and it is also commonly used as an award. A gold medal usually designates the overall winner.
Price history of Gold:
20th century: By the time the 20th century started, governments began introducing a gold standard so that the price of the metal stabilized even during two devastating world wars. But by 1968, it became impossible to sustain.
Nowadays: In 1967, the price was $34.95 per ounce, and by 1974 it was $154. By 1980 it would reach a peak of more than $600 per ounce, before the price returned to the $400 level during most of the 1980s and 1990s. It dipped in 2001, and then after that rebounded spectacularly over the decade that followed.
How can I invest in Gold:
1 – Buy and hold gold;
2 – Trade in Futures;
3 – Invest in funds that deal with the metal (e.g. ETFs);
4 – Trade in stocks of mining companies.
Gold has always been considered valuable, so it has represented stability during times of economic uncertainty.
In general, its prices go up when the value of the US dollar becomes weaker. That’s because when times are good and the value of the fiat currencies. For example, when the US dollar is strong, people continue to invest and trade in dollars. But investors often switch to gold when the dollar is weak. All over the world, central banks have gold reserves as a backup for their currency. It is a form of wealth protection and as a hedge against currency devaluation.
The value of gold is also driven by the demand. And more than half of that demand is fueled by the jewelry industry. Another significant portion of the demand is for industrial and medical uses, as it is required for medical devices and precision electronics.
Introduction to Ruthenium:
This member of the platinum metals retains many of the group’s characteristics, including hardness, rarity and an ability to withstand outside elements.
Who are the largest producers of Ruthenium:
What is Ruthenium used for:
Like other secondary precious metals, ruthenium has a wide range of uses. Because it can be used to harden palladium, it has become an increasingly popular precious metal to use in the manufacturing of alloys. While ruthenium is primarily combined with palladium or platinum, it can also be combined with other precious metals, such as titanium.
In addition to making these substances harder, ruthenium can also assist in making certain metals more resistant to corrosion. It doesn’t take a lot of the element to do its job in this capacity. For instance, it just takes .1 percent of ruthenium to increase titanium’s corrosion capacities one hundred-fold.
Common uses for ruthenium when they are combined with another metal include:
1 – Electrical contacts
2 – Medical instruments
3 – Extreme temperature gauges
This doesn’t mean that ruthenium isn’t used on its own.
4 – Catalysts: The precious metal also plays a vital role in the creation of catalysts, which are substances used to change the speed of a chemical reaction without forcing a change to itself.
One of the key functions ruthenium provides in this process is the ability to change light energy into electrical energy. This particular process acts similarly to photosynthesis, the function that allows green plants to convert sunlight into chemical energy.
5 – Jewelry: Because ruthenium can work so well with platinum, it has also gained a reputation for being an effective substance for ring plating. In this sense, it acts in a similar vein to rhodium, which has long been used to improve the sheen of jewelry, particularly in rings.
Price history of Ruthenium:
Like other precious metals, ruthenium’s price changes from day to day. This fluctuation is because the substance is traded as a commodity, much in the same spirit as silver or gold. Its trading does not match the volume of those two substances, although it should be noted that its interest as a commodity is on the rise.
The reason why it is so attractive is the same core reason why other commodities are considered for diverse portfolios. Its price is relatively stable compared to paper stocks, meaning that it’s not necessarily subject to the wild fluctuations of the market. As such, a dose of ruthenium in a portfolio could add a steady anchor to an investor’s long-term investment strategy, one that gives them the ability to weather unstable conditions.
Like other commodities, ruthenium’s slow, steady price point is not something that has much value to the short-term investor or the day-trader that’s looking to make rapid games in a truncated time. If this is your typical milieu, investing in ruthenium – or any precious metal, for that matter – is not the right call.
How can I invest in Ruthenium:
You can invest in Ruthenium in different ways. However, the most likely way to be successful is to look for ruthenium powder producers.
1 – Stocks: Companies like Norilsk Nickel (OTC: NILSY) produce ruthenium powder for alloys with high hardness and abrasion resistance.
Introduction to Iridium:
It’s the most extreme member of the platinum group. This whitish metal has a super high melting point, is one of the densest elements around and stands as the most corrosion-resistant metal. Iridium is processed from platinum ore and as a by-product of nickel mining.
It is so rare that it is only available at 0.001 parts per million.
Its rarity is thought by some experts as a result of its high density. The metal may have sunk beneath the Earth’s crust while the planet was still in its molten state.
The metal is more prevalent in meteorites, and today the highest concentrations of the metal are found in impact craters. The largest meteorite to crash in North America is the Willamette Meteorite, and that had 4.7 parts iridium per million.
Tracking the amount of iridium through geological records have led to the Alvarez Hypothesis, which posited that a massive object from space such as a meteor crashed on Earth, and that caused the extinction of many species 65 million years ago.
Who are the Largest producers of Iridium:
What is Iridium used for:
Iridium can be used today in many ways.
1 – Alloy: As an alloy mixed with osmium (“osmiridium”), it was first used in the early 1830s to tip fountain pen nibs. Since 1944, the Parker 51 fountain pen had a nib fitted with a ruthenium and iridium alloy, and today the tip material in fountain pens is still called “iridium” even though other metals such as tungsten has replaced that metal.
2 – LED and data storage technology: It is also used in the LED and data storage technology, as it is used to grow synthetic single crystals. Since 1995, it has also been used in making acetic acid. Because it is so brittle, it is also used in alloys as a hardening agent, so it is used to harden the platinum used in medical probes, pacemakers, and other similar applications.
3 – Automotive industry: In the automotive industry, its main use is as a component of the exhausts for direct injection engines. It is also sometimes used in spark plugs. When used as an alloy with ruthenium, it is used in making electrodes for chlorine production.
4 – Glass production: It is also used in glass production, because the metal is inert when it is in contact with molten glass. It can be found in optical lenses as a coating, as it boosts clarity and reduces glare.
Price history of Iridium:
The price of iridium is tied to its industrial usage. It is considered one of the rarest metals in the world, and with its comparatively small volume in the market (when compared to other industrial metals like copter and aluminum) has made its price very unstable. Its price fluctuates depending on any changes in the production, demand, speculation, and hoarding of the metal. But in general, unlike gold it’s not used as a hedge against inflation.
In the early 2000s, its price gradually decreased because the supply was too much for the relatively lower demand. But that changed in the early 2010s when demand for this metal suddenly increased. It was due to the increasing popularity of LED screens. The metal become highly valuable as flat screen TVs and tablets became more popular. By 2011, the demand for this metal was for 194,000 ounces and that was 27 times what it was back in 2009. Soon the demand reached 334,000 ounces. The price of iridium broke the $1,000-mark per ounce by 2011.
So in other words, it wasn’t speculation that was sustaining the increase in the price of the metal. It was actual industrial demand that dictated the price instead.
Today, many manufacturers of LED screens now use cheaper fluorescent material instead. That’s why currently the price of iridium is about $520 per ounce.
How can I invest in Iridium:
You can invest in Iridium in different ways.
1 – Stocks: During the early 2010s when the price was heating up, the primary investors who benefited were the ones who had bought stock in the iridium-producing companies. These included Sibanye-Stillwater, Impala Platinum, and Anglo Platinum.
2 – ETFs: investors can either buy and trade stock in these companies, or pour in money in funds that invest in similar companies.
However, very rarely do people invest in iridium, as it is considered a minor element.
Introduction to Osmium:
Osmium was discovered in 1803 by a British chemist named Smithson Tenant, who obtained samples from W.H. Wollaston, who had discovered platinum.
The metal is named for the Greek word for “smell” because it emits a distinct odor when it oxidizes in the air. It actually emits osmium tetroxide when it oxidizes, which is toxic.
This bluish-silver metal is one of the densest elements on Earth. This very hard, brittle metal has an extremely high melting point.
Osmium does have certain unique characteristics that differentiate it from the other elements such as its density and its rarity as its abundance in the Earth’s crust is just 0.0018 parts per million. In comparison, gold is 0.0031 parts per million.
Osmium is found naturally alloyed with iridium, and in deposits of copper and nickel ores it’s also found as a trace element. It is actually very difficult to make, and each year less than a ton is produced. Its hardness, brittleness and high melting point all make it extremely difficult to form into a desired shape.
Who are the largest producers of Osmium:
Canada, Russia and North and South America.
What is Osmium used for:
The alloys that contain this element are usually used for various applications where friction must be minimized.
1 – Devices: Historically, these devices include the tips of fountain pens and ball point pens, record player needles, instrument pivots, compass needles, and electrical contacts.
2 – Mirrors: It has also demonstrated a very high reflectivity in the UV range of the electromagnetic spectrum, and in certain instances it is even twice as reflective as gold. It’s been used in mirrors for UV spectrometers in space, although in low space orbit there were still enough oxygen deteriorate the metal.
3 – Some clinical uses: Surprisingly, the toxic osmium tetroxide compound have been tried out for patients with arthritis and early results indicate that the metal itself may be biocompatible.
However, it must be accepted that the supply of the metal is too little, that it is too difficult to work with, and it has very few applications for which there is not a more suitable (and much safer) alternative element to use. It is not really a practical metal to deal with, either in industry or in trading.
Price history of Osmium:
In the global market, it is usually traded as part of the platinum group metals. On its own, it is rarely traded.
Theoretically, its price hovers around the $400 per troy ounce mark, and it’s been that way since the start of the 1990s. But that’s not the real price tag. Instead, it’s a starting point for negotiations when a company needs to purchase the metal.
This stagnation in the price is due to the fact that the demand and supply matches up and doesn’t fluctuate. The metal is very rare and only a tiny amount is produced, but then it is very rarely used anyway. It’s for that reason the price has stayed the same for years.
How can I invest in Osmium:
In all honesty, there is really not that much of a point in investing in this particular metal. It is simply not a practical option.
Here is why.
1. Trading: Trading in a company that only has 10 shares doesn’t make sense, because no trading occurs when none of the 10 shareholders wish to sell their shares to someone else. It makes more sense to trade in a company with a million shares with numerous shareholders, because the shares are constantly traded each day. It is the same thing with osmium.
2. Stocks: The industry only uses a very small amount for specialized purposes, so investors do not have much of a chance to participate.
3. Buy and hold: You can store bullion gold, but you can’t do the same for osmium. It’s toxic, so storage becomes a huge problem.
In other terms, investors have much better alternative options in the metals market. Even among the other PGMs, you are much better off investing in palladium or platinum because these metals have robust financial markets.
Introduction to Palladium:
Palladium was discovered only in 1803, and it is part of the platinum group metals (PGMs) which also include platinum, osmium, iridium, ruthenium, and rhodium. They all have very similar chemical properties. However, palladium is the least dense of them all, and it also has the lowest melting point.
This grayish-white, precious metal is valued because of its rarity, malleability, stability under hot conditions and ability to absorb a considerable amount of hydrogen at room temperature.
Palladium bars are made from 99.95% fine palladium for private and professional investors. Distribution, trading and redemption is done by refineries, banks and dealers in precious metals. In Germany, the sale of palladium bars is subject to value added tax.
Today, small Palladium ingots from 1g to 100g are made by high pressure stamping process, similar to coins. Typically, large 250g to 1kg palladium ingots are conventionally cast and hallmarked with the manufacturer’s logo, weight and purity information.
Who are the largest producers of Palladium:
Russia, South Africa, the United States, Canada and other countries.
What is Palladium used for:
Palladium has a variety of uses.
1 – Catalystic converters for automobiles: Catalyst is a substance that accelerates a chemical reaction without getting affected itself. In this case, palladium can speed up hydrogenation, dehydrogenation, and petroleum cracking. It is an excellent electrocatalyst when dispersed on conductive materials. The most common use of palladium as catalytic converters are for automobiles and other engine equipped machines.
2 – Synthetic biology catalyst: Palladium is also used in synthetic biology as an effective in vivo catalytic activity that was demonstrated in mammals to treat disease.
3 – Hydrogen Storage: Palladium is an efficient, inexpensive way to store and filter hydrogen in a safe way. By the characteristics, Palladium has the ability to absorb hydrogen up to 900 times its volume. It absorbs hydrogen and forms palladium hyrdride (PdH).
4 – Jewelry: Palladium appears in belt buckles, rings, necklaces, even crowns. Palladium alloyed with gold makes white gold without requiring rhodium plating, since palladium itself is white.
5 – Electronics: Palladium is used in the multilayer ceramics capacitors of electronic devices. In this case, palladium take role as the electrodes.
6 – Long lasting photograph: Palladium salts along with platinum is being used in the platinotype printing to make fine black-and-white prints. This type of printing is known for their matte appearance and long lasting qualities.
7 – Dentistry: Palladium is being used as the alloys since it’s more economic than gold or platinum.
8 – Blood sugar test strips
9 – Surgical instruments
10 – Carbon monoxide detectors
Price history of Palladium:
The price of this metal has increased sharply since 1996.
What accounts for these attractive prices? Historically, it has all been about supply and demand, although politics and government policies can affect these factors.
Palladium is extremely rare, so any disruption in the supply can have far-reaching consequences. Only 200,000 ounces (or less than 5,670 kilos) are produced each year.
While deposits of this metal can be found in various spots around the world, in practical terms the most important sources of the metal come from Russia and South Africa.
A notorious instance of supply disruption for the metal occurred in late 2000, when the supply from Russia was delayed because. For political reasons the export quota was not granted in time. That disruption caused a buying spree in the market, and the price rose to a record high of $1,100 per troy ounce in January 2001.
The Ford Motor Company panicked and stockpiled the metal, which they bought near the peak prices. They were afraid that the disruption would affect their production. But the price of the metal soon fell afterwards when the supply lines stabilized. The stockpiling of the metal caused an estimated $1 billion loss for the automotive giant.
The other factor is the demand, and that has been increasing steadily since the 1990s. At the time of the Russian supply disruption, the world demand for the metal rose from 100 tons in 1990 to almost 300 tons in 2000.
The demand for the metal is rising steadily, because the Chinese premier has recently announced that the government will focus on growth and development. That implies a greater need for palladium in the future, because the country will experience a surge in automotive sales.
How can I invest in Palladium:
You can invest in palladium in several ways.
1 – Buy and hold coins or bars: Because it is very valuable on a per-ounce basis, you can always just buy and store the metal. You can try to get it at a low price and then sell it when the price rises. You won’t have to deal with the complexities of trading in futures contracts, but you will have to cover the cost of the storage.
2 – Trade Futures contracts: Futures are also traded in the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract size is 100 troy ounces per futures contract.
3 – Trade Stocks: As an investor, you can also buy stocks in the companies that extract or sell this metal. The values of these stocks tend to rise when the price of the metal goes up, especially when the company has steadied its production costs.
4 – Trade ETFs: Finally, you can also buy stock in ETFs. These are the funds that engage in investing in the metal in various way.
Palladium is considered an attractive investment for 2 main reasons.
1) Like gold, Palladium can act as an inflation hedge and safe haven.
2) Investing in the Palladium is akin to betting on the continuous growth in emerging markets. As the developing world increases its purchases of cars, then there would be a greater demand for the metal.
On the downside, as Russia is the main supplier for the world market it is very easy to disrupt the market supply. Russia is involved in world politics and it does not always agree with Western policies. If the West imposes any sanctions that can choke the export of this metal, then this can only intensify the predicted deficit in the supply.
Introduction to Rhenium:
Rhenium is one of the densest metals, with the third highest melting point.
In 1871, when Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleev published the periodic table of elements, he predicted the existence of a “manganese-like” element with an atomic weight of 190 in nature.
In 1925, German chemists Walter Noddack, Ida Noddack, and Otto Berg detected this element with X-rays in platinum and niobium ore. They named the element rhenium after the Rhine river. Later, they also found rhenium in silicon-beryllium yttrium and molybdenite.
In 1928, they extracted 1 gram of rhenium from 660 kilograms of molybdenite.
Who are the largest producers of Rhenium:
The United States, Chile, China, Poland and Kazakhstan.
Note: Imports of rhenium metal decreased by 57% in 2020 (as per the USGS) compared with the previous year. This large decrease in rhenium metal imports was attributed in part to lower consumption by the aerospace industry owing to travel lockdown measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and reduced production of airplanes. Additionally, mine production of rhenium-containing feedstocks was lower in 2020.
What is Rhenium used for:
At the time when the Rhenium was discovered in Germany in 1925, the process was so complicated and the cost so high that production was discontinued until early 1950 when tungsten-rhenium and molybdenum-rhenium alloys were prepared.
Rhenium has nonetheless several uses.
1 – Alloys: These alloys found important applications in industry that resulted in a great demand for the rhenium produced from the molybdenite fraction of porphyry copper ores. Rhenium alloys are used in crucibles, electrical contacts, electromagnets, electron tubes and targets, heating elements, ionization gauges, mass spectrographs, metallic coatings, semiconductors, temperature controls, thermocouples, vacuum tubes, and other applications.
2 – Catalysts: Important uses of rhenium have been in platinum-rhenium catalysts, used primarily in producing lead-free, high-octane gasoline and in high-temperature superalloys used for jet engine components.
Price history of Rhenium:
We are currently consolidating the data to be published soon.
How can I invest in Rhenium:
Introduction to Silver:
Silver has been used for thousands of years as ornaments and utensils, for trade, and as the basis for many monetary systems.
Of all the metals, pure silver has the whitest color, the highest optical reflectivity, and the highest thermal and electrical conductivity. Also, silver halides are photosensitive.
Owing to the above properties, silver has many industrial applications such as in mirrors, electrical and electronic products, and photography, which is the largest single end use of silver.
Silver’s catalytic properties make it ideal for use as a catalyst in oxidation reactions; for example, the production of formaldehyde from methanol and air by means of silver screens or crystallites containing a minimum 99.95 weight-percent silver.
Who are the largest producers of Silver:
Mexico, Peru, China, Russia and Chile.
What is Silver used for:
The most common domestic uses of silver are:
1 – Electrical and electronics,
2 – Jewelry and silverware,
3 – Coins and medals,
4 – Photography, and
5 – Other uses (i.e. use in antimicrobial bandages, clothing, pharmaceuticals, and plastics, batteries, bearings, brazing and soldering, catalytic converters in automobiles, electroplating, inks, mirrors, photovoltaic solar cells, water purification, and wood treatment).
Price history of Silver:
How can I invest in Silver:
1 – Silver bars, coins, and other bullion investments: For some investors, there’s no alternative to owning actual physical silver. There are many online coin and bullion dealers that will sell you silver in quantities ranging from a single ounce to 1,000-ounce ingots. You can also visit local coin shops in person, as many of them also offer ways to buy and sell silver. There are many different silver coins in various weights, as well as bars of various sizes.
Owning physical silver ensures that you’ll participate directly in the movements of the silver market. However, you’ll be responsible for shipping costs to get the silver to you, and you’ll have to take care of storing it securely. In addition, most dealers have a fairly wide gap between the price at which they’ll sell you silver and the price they’ll pay you to buy it back. This method is therefore best for those who expect to hold their silver over long periods of time.
2 – Silver futures contracts: You can also invest in silver without ever having to take physical ownership of any actual metal. Silver futures contracts give you the right to receive delivery at a specified date in the future at a given price that tends to fluctuate with the price of silver. If silver prices rise, the value of your futures contract will typically rise along with it. If you don’t want to take delivery, you just need to sell the contract back before its expiration date.
Silver futures usually trade fairly closely with the spot price of silver bullion, but there’s still some risk of futures market irregularities that can create disparities between spot prices and futures prices. You’ll also need to talk to your broker to see if you have the ability to trade futures contracts in your account. If not, you’ll need to take steps to add futures trading to your account or get a separate account with another broker. In addition, the intricacies of futures contracts can get complicated, leaving many investors preferring other choices.
3 – Silver ETFs: The exchange-traded fund market also caters to silver investors with funds that track the price of the white metal. iShares Silver (NYSEMKT:SLV) owns silver bullion, and each share corresponds to about 0.93 ounces of silver. Except for the 0.50% annual expense ratio, the ETF has done a good job of tracking the long-term movements in the silver market.
ETFs allow you to buy and sell shares any time the market is open. They’re also typically available at no commission, saving you from the markups your local coin dealer will charge. However, some investors don’t like silver ETFs as much, because you have no legal right to demand the actual silver bullion from the fund.
4 – Silver mining stocks: A host of companies mine silver. When silver gets more expensive, their profits tend to rise. Most silver miners are actually leveraged plays on silver prices, because fixed costs make the impact on profits larger than the rise in the price of silver. As a basic example, if a company has costs of $10 per ounce to mine silver and the price jumps from $15 to $20, then the miner’s profit will double from $5 per ounce to $10. That can create big share movements, even though the price of silver went up just 33%.
However, the link between any given miner and the silver market isn’t perfect, as there are some company-specific issues that can arise. For instance, if a mining company has an accident in one of its mines, it might have to shut the mine down and halt production. That’ll send shares of the mining stock lower even if silver prices are soaring.
Investors can buy individual mining stocks. Alternatively, you can turn to ETFs like GlobalX Silver Miners (NYSEMKT:SIL) for diversified exposure.
5 – Silver streaming companies: There’s another set of companies with exposure to silver. Streaming companies aren’t miners, but they work with miners to provide financing for mining projects. In exchange, they’ll obtain the right to buy some or all of the silver production from those projects, often at a fixed price that’s well below the current market price.
Most streaming companies, including Wheaton Precious Metals (NYSE:WPM) and Franco-Nevada (NYSE:FNV), enter into contracts with precious metals miners of all types. With exposure to gold and platinum-group metals as well as silver, it can be tough to find pure-play silver streaming companies. However, gold and silver often move in tandem, so some investors are comfortable with exposure to gold as well in a streaming company.
Introduction to Indium:
Indium is a rare metal produced from zinc-ore processing, as well as lead, iron and copper ores. In its purest form, it presents the color white and it’s extremely shiny and malleable.
Indium is a silver-white and slightly bluish metal, with element symbol In, atomic number 49, relative atomic mass 114.8. Thanks to its good ductility, strong plasticity, low melting point, high boiling point, low resistance, corrosion resistance, etc., indium is widely used in industry and our everyday life.
Who are the largest producers of Indium:
China, South Korea and Japan.
What is Indium Used For:
During World War II, it was used as a coating for bearings in aircraft engines, but it can also be used to create corrosive-resistant mirrors, semiconductors, alloys and electrical conductivity in flat-panel devices.
Indium metal has played a key role in technology advances since it was first investigated by Dr. William S. Murray in 1924 in Utica, NY, and with the creation of the Indium Corporation in 1934, the two have been tied together, leading, and supporting the advancement of technologies that we all rely on today.
Indium metal is extracted primarily from indium-bearing zinc or tin ores and purified to various grades utilizing state-of-the-art statistical process controlled refining technologies.
1 – ITO Targets: Because indium ingot has good light permeability and conductivity, the glassy compound (Indium Tin Oxide or ITO) of high-purity indium oxide and tin oxide is used to make transparent and conductive electrodes in the plasma TV and LCD TV screen industries, and also used as the sensitive element for some gas measurements. 70% of global indium consumption is used to produce ITO targets.
2 – Electronic Semiconductor: Indium has the characteristics of high boiling point, low resistance, and corrosion resistance, and is also widely used in the electronic semiconductor industry. A considerable portion of metal indium is used to produce semiconductor materials.
3 – Radio: In the radio and electronics industries, indium is used to make special contact devices. This device is made by mixing and compressing indium and silver oxides.
4 – Stomatology: It is known that alloys used as dentures are basically alloys containing gold, silver, and palladium as main components and added with 0.5% to 10% indium. After adding a small amount of metal indium to the material of dental implants, the corrosion resistance and hardness of these implants can be significantly improved, and the alloy material will not be black.
5 – Alloys: After a small amount of indium is added into many alloys, the strength of the alloy, its ductility, its wear resistance, and corrosion resistance can be improved, so that indium has gained the reputation of “alloy vitamin”.
Due to its low melting point, indium can be used to produce a variety of fusible alloys. Such indium-containing alloys with a melting point in the range of 47 to 122°C are mostly used to manufacture various fuses, temperature controllers, and signalling devices.
6 – Solar Cells: Indium alloys can be used for the production of solar cells. Copper indium gallium selenium thin-film solar cells have the characteristics of low production cost, low pollution, and good performance under low light. The photoelectric conversion efficiency ranks first among various thin-film solar cells, and is internationally known as a very promising new thin-film solar cell.
7 – Gasket Or Liner Materials:
Because of its excellent ductility (plasticity), low vapor pressure, and ability to adhere to a variety of materials, it is widely used as a gasket or lining material in high-altitude instruments and aerospace equipment.
8 – Atomic Energy Industry: In the atomic energy industry, indium is used to make neutron indicators. Many indium alloys are commonly used to manufacture control rods in nuclear reactors. Indium is also an excellent material for making neutron detectors, and is comparable to gallium metal.
9 – Industrial Bearings:
The initial application field of indium metal in the industry is the manufacture of industrial bearings, and its use in this area continues to this day. The surface of the bearing is plated with indium, and the service life of the bearing is 5 times longer than that of the ordinary coated bearing.
10 – Brazing Materials: Many fusible alloys of indium are used as brazing materials. With indium, parts made of piezoelectric materials can be firmly welded to each other. In the manufacture of multilayer integrated circuits, the selection of brazing materials containing indium is a crucial step.
Price history of Indium:
We are currently consolidating the data to be published soon.
How can I invest in Indium:
If you plan on investing in indium, make sure you keep an eye on major producers and natural resources company.
The rise and fall of indium values will indicate whether it is a good investment or not.
Mat is the founder of cashtipsandtricks and has been working in the financial sector in Luxembourg for the past 10 years and brings his insights as an investor and entrepreneur.