What Are The Latest Iridium Developments?

January 5, 2012 | By | Reply More

The start of 2012 has seen the price of Iridium sustain its advance to US$1000 -$1100 an ounce reached early in 2011 after a meteoric rise beginning at $400 an oz in Feb 2010.

Unlike both gold and silver, iridium and other platinum group metals, with the possible exception of platinum itself, are not primarily regarded as hedges against inflation or preservers of wealth.

Platinum and palladium enjoy high industrial demand principally in their capacity as catalysts in environmentally friendly motor vehicle exhaust systems as well as their use in jewelry.

However it is easy for those who are not  precious metal followers to mistake iridium’s rise in price as a natural consequence of the bull market that has, and continues to prevail in the gold and silver sector of the precious metals market.

Iridium Is Very Rare

Firstly iridium is one of the rarest accessible metals on earth with an annual production of only around  three metric tonnes. The uses of Iridium are steadily growing. Commercial production is as a by- product of nickel and copper mining  and no significant technical advances in extraction have taken place for many years.

This essentially means that despite the high price, any significant increase in production is not a feasible option.

Iridium Demand Expected to Increase

Meanwhile the demand for iridium has more than doubled in recent years to 204,000 ounces, of which over 70% is accounted for in the electrical and electrochemical industries.

There is good reason to believe that demand will continue to increase as the technological advances in these industries need the unique properties that only iridium can contribute.

 Iridium Not Practical For Investors to Trade

Regretably trading iridium in any of its forms (sponge, powder,wire, etc.) is not a practical proposition for retail investors.

There are only eleven registered suppliers of the metal worldwide with Johnson Matthey plc probably the best known in the West.  The bid/offer spread is around 10% so unless negotiating a large quantity, that is a hurdle to overcome, on top of that there are delivery or storage charges and insurance to take into account.

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Category: Platinum Group Metals

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