Rhodium eases on more offers, but buyers emerge

Washington (Platts)--9 Mar 2018 404 pm EST/2104 GMT

The range of rhodium transactions narrowed this week following a wave of offers by recyclers at lower prices levels that was met by industrial buying. The Platts New York Dealer rhodium prices slipped to $1,820-$1,865/oz from $1,810-$1,880/oz the previous week. Most trade sources said rhodium traded no higher than $1,865-$1,870/oz this week.

The selling pressure on rhodium appeared to begin early in the week, with major European refiners lowering their base prices to reflect the lower offers.

Engelhard Materials Services (BASF) lowered its base price on Monday to $1,865/oz from $1,875/oz and maintained that price for the rest of the week.

UK-based Johnson Matthey lowered its base price on Tuesday to $1,860/oz from $1,870/oz last week and held that level for the remainder of the week.

Most trade sources attributed the markdown to a wave of offers entering the market at the start of the week. But the offers were lifted by industrial buyers, which helped stabilize prices.

"There was a lot of metal coming back into the market at the time," one PGMs refiner said, putting this week's range of physical deals at $1,815-$1,870/oz.

"There were a lot of offers coming into the fray. But things quickly turned around the next day, and we started to see it bid up again," he said. A second PGMs refiner agreed. "Every time people came in, it was mostly to buy; we didn't see too much selling," he said, putting this week's range at $1820-$1,865/oz.

"The selling we saw was the typical, normal selling we see from refining recovery, not people selling to dump their rhodium," he said, referring to recyclers of automobile catalytic converters.

Rhodium, along with platinum and palladium, is used in automobile catalytic converters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric pollutants.

Another factor that may have prompted more offers this week was the US dollar appreciation against the euro and other currencies, said one US dealer, putting the market at $1,840-$1,870/oz.

The dollar on Friday was testing the low $1.23/high $1.22 range against the euro on the back of very strong February employment numbers.

The Platts New York Dealer iridium price remained unchanged this week at $960-$1,000/oz.

Most sources said the market had turned quiet following two weeks of inquiries and some industrial buying.

The US dealer cited earlier put iridium at $970-$1,000/oz and said supply seemed to have tightened, though the reason was unclear.

--Nick Jonson,

--Edited by Derek Sands,

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