Coming up we’ll hear a sensational interview with Dr. Chris Martenson of The Crash Course and PeakProsperity.com. Chris gives a stern warning to those who are becoming complacent and don’t seize on the opportunity to become more self-reliant and self-sufficient during this calm before the storm… and what appears to be an inevitable economic reset. Don’t miss my conversation with Chris Martenson, coming up after this week’s market update.
Gold and silver markets consolidated this week, with both metals reacting to jobs numbers on Thursday. The ADP report showed private-sector employers added 253,000 new jobs last month on a seasonally adjusted basis. The apparent strength in employment lifted the U.S. dollar and sent gold and silver modestly lower until they’ve rebounded today.
As of this Friday recording, gold is up now 0.7% for the week to bring spot prices to $1,277 an ounce. Silver trades at $17.52 and is up this week by 0.6%. The platinum group metals are diverging sharply with platinum down 0.9% to $954 an ounce while palladium up $50 an ounce or 6.3% to $843 as of this Friday morning recording. Should it close there it would be the highest we’ve seen the industrial metal since September of 2014.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced his plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. Trump’s decision outraged so-called environmentalists and clean energy proponents. But it won’t slow the growth of solar and other alternative forms of energy.
Government subsidies for solar power aren’t going away. And market forces continue to drive costs down for solar panels and lithium-ion batteries used for storing solar-generated electricity and powering electric vehicles. Platinum prices have suffered on fears that rising sales of electric vehicles will reduce the need for catalytic converters, which are one of the main sources of platinum demand.
The upshot is that low platinum prices, punctuated by a historically low platinum to gold ratio, are making platinum more attractive for use in jewelry. According to Platinum Guild International, platinum demand for jewelry grew 11.4% in India and 5.4% in the United States last year.
Meanwhile, lithium has been one of the hottest commodities of all, with spot prices nearly tripling over the past couple years. Unfortunately, there is no practical way for investors to own physical lithium. The battery element doesn’t even trade on a futures exchange.
Those looking for a similarly obscure metal with similarly explosive upside potential DO have the ability to own rhodium in physical form. Money Metals sells pure rhodium bars produced by Baird & Company of London. The bars come in a tamper proof package to ensure authenticity.
The primary use for rhodium is in catalytic converters for cars and trucks. It is alloyed with platinum and palladium to enhance resistance to corrosion. Rhodium is also used in some types of jewelry.
Rhodium is a scarce, thinly traded, highly volatile, and little known even among metals investors. But if upside potential is what you’re after, rhodium has quite a history. From 2004 to 2008, rhodium launched from $500 per ounce to as high as $10,000. Prices then proceeded to collapse back under $1,000. Rhodium currently checks in at around $950 per ounce.
Clearly, this metal is more on the speculative side. Most investors will find that silver is more suitable for a core position while still offering tremendous upside potential in its own right. Silver is both a precious metal and an industrial metal with ever increasing applications in computer technology, biotechnology, and energy technology. Silver is a small but crucial component in the manufacturing of solar panels.
Silver is also used in the electronics of all automobiles, regardless of whether they have gasoline or battery powered engines. Batteries represent a potential area for huge demand growth in silver. Silver oxide and silver zinc batteries are viable alternatives to lithium ion. Silver-based batteries are actually superior in terms of their energy to weight ratios but are currently more expensive to produce.
High-tech demand for silver will continue as high-tech applications grow. Silver is indispensable due to its unique reflective and conductive properties. When you hold a silver coin, round, or bar in your hand, you’re literally holding a form of stored energy. It never depletes or dies or needs recharging. The intrinsic value of silver is yours to unlock today, tomorrow, or decades from now when there’s no telling what new sources of high-tech demand may be driving market prices.
Well now, without further delay, let’s get right to this week’s exclusive interview.
Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in Dr. Chris of PeakProsperity.com, and author of the book Prosper! How to Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting. Chris is a commentator on a range of important topics such as global politicals, financial markets, governmental policy, precious metals and the importance of preparedness among other things. And it's always great to have him with us.