Dubbed the “most precious of precious metals”, palladium is having a bit of a moment and enterprising thieves across the US and the UK are making the most of it.
Palladium has surged in price as car manufacturers seek to make their vehicles more emissions friendly. The metal is used in catalytic converters to transform harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and water vapour.
The metal has surged in price by around 50 per cent over the last four months, leaving gold behind.
While it’s been on investors’ radars for a while now, it’s recently reached the attention of thieves. Catalytic converters tend to sell for up to $550. Thieves in Virginia, USA have stolen 15 converters since the beginning of December.
In Missouri, thieves are targeting U-Haul trucks as the volume of palladium is larger than in cars.
Over in the UK, thieves are targeting Audis, BMWs and VWs. The London police warned it can cost thousands to replace catalytic converters.
However, according to a Reuters poll, the frenzy is unlikely to last.
It found most analysts and traders predict that palladium will have its biggest year in 2019 but fall slightly behind gold in 2020 as supply starts to meet demand.
At time of writing, palladium is $1,895.10 for an ounce, and gold is $1,823.88 for an ounce.