Diesel Switch Sends Rocketing Rhodium Market to New Heights

Rhodium and ruthenium are having a banner week.

Rhodium, mainly used in autocatalysts to curb harmful emissions, is benefiting as more European consumers choose gasoline-powered cars and trucks over diesel, said Jonathan Butler, a precious metals strategist at Mitsubishi Corp. in London. Drivers for ruthenium include demand for applications such as organic light-emitting diodes and water purification purposes, he said.

Because they’re small and illiquid markets, even small changes in supply and demand can cause big price moves.

Rhodium was at $1,550 an ounce on Friday and reached the highest since early 2012, according to data from Johnson Matthey Plc. Ruthenium climbed to $85 an ounce, touching the highest since 2013.

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Both metals have now doubled in price this year, far exceeding gains in all major commodities tracked by Bloomberg. The closest performance has been a 43 percent advance by palladium, also used in autocatalysts.

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