News & Commentaries

Commodity Focus: Platinum-Gilded Rollercoaster

June 15, 2003

Those killer roller coasters at Six Flags are tame when compared to the precious metals markets. Soon recyclers will demand employees with rodeo experience able to ride a bucking bronco for any openings in the metals markets.

The wildest ride of all has been with the platinum-group metals (PGM). As of this writing, platinum was at the top of a long climb. Fasten your seatbeltpalladium is taking a dizzying dive down, and it may not have bottomed yet. Its early April price of $180 per ounce is a long fall for a metal that was moving close to $1,100 a couple of years ago.

Add to this dizzy market the confusion over the disparity in PMG volume figures as published by several firms, and it all comes out to a real fun-house adventure.

A RAPID PULSE. The Iraq war put the gold markets in a whirl, although some observers say the market had already built into the price of gold such factors as likelihood of a protracted war. Only silver has stayed out of the precious metals fun house, maintaining a steady flat price.

"I see more of a topsy-turvy market," says Richard Zakroff, vice president of Lippincott Estate Buyers, Narberth, Pa. The company specializes in gold, but also deals in platinum, palladium and other precious metals. "If anything happens on our soil, there will be a move in gold."

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