Rhodium has breached the $20 000 (R304 400) an ounce mark for the first time on record, underscoring demand stimulated by the stringent emissions levels. Photo: Supplied
Rhodium has breached the $20 000 (R304 400) an ounce mark for the first time on record, underscoring demand stimulated by the stringent emissions levels. Photo: Supplied

Rhodium on upward streak as it breaches $20 000 mark

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Jan 18, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - RHODIUM has breached the $20 000 (R304 400) an ounce mark for the first time on record, underscoring demand stimulated by the stringent emissions levels.

Rhodium, the precious metal that removes fumes from gasoline car exhausts, rose as China 6 emissions standards set in.

Rhodium exchanged hands at $21 200 an ounce on Friday, higher than the $20 190 an ounce on Wednesday. Impala Platinum spokesperson Johan Theron said rhodium supply and demand fundamentals had been strong for some time now, principally as a result of the increased use of petrol cars globally and stricter emission standards.

Theron said the price support had increased from circa $4 000 to $20 000 an ounce recently.

“This is obviously good news for South Africa, which remains the largest producer of this metal Theron said, adding that it was also not unusual for price volatility at the start of a new calendar year.

“We saw similar price escalations last year this time before the coronavirus outbreak. We would expect the rhodium price to moderate over the new few months from where it is today with increased supply from South Africa after the Christmas break, but remain well supported well into the future given persistently strong anticipated market fundamentals for the metal.”

In December, the metal was bid at $17 000 an ounce. The metal has leapt 3 000 percent in the past five years and now costs $1 million for just 1.5kg. Sibanye-Stillwater spokesperson James Wellsted said the rhodium market was very tight and well supported fundamentally.

“This is unlikely to change although the price may moderate in coming months as metal from Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) is released following the recommissioning of its Anglo Converter Plant (ACP),” Wellsted said.

Amplats said last month that it had completed the rebuild of the ACP Phase A unit in Rustenburg which had been damaged following a coal dust explosion in February last year.

Rhodium is a member of the Platinum Group Metals (PGM) basket and the 6E platinum group metals (6E) – the sum of platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, ruthenium and gold.

An investment analyst at Johannesburg-based Anchor Capital, Seleho Tsatsi, said that the rhodium market was quite small in size and volume, which could lead to a lot of volatility.

“Rhodium's significance in the PGM basket has risen dramatically recently. It is now about 40percent of the PGM basket – an incredible number. The strength in the rhodium price and PGM basket price as a whole continues to be a tailwind for the PGM mining industry and the shares of PGM miners,” Tsatsi said.

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