Palladium merits fresh consideration for investors thanks to deeply discounted prices combined with favorable supply/demand drivers over the next decade. Does overlooked palladium offer asymmetric upside potential entering 2024?
In our analysis, palladium warrants investor attention around current $1500 levels thanks to four compelling catalysts pointing towards substantially higher prices by mid decade:
- Surging Auto Demand Requiring Catalysts
- Structurally Declining Mining Output
- Rising Investment and Jewelry Interest
- Current Low Inventories and High Valuations
This combination supports a highly constructive outlook for palladium exposure between essential usage and monetary potential as the forgotten precious metal overcoming temporary weakness.
Surging Automotive Applications
The primary usage for palladium rests in gasoline auto emission control systems helping filter out harmful particulate matter through catalytic conversion of toxic gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.
Gasoline engines rely overwhelmingly on palladium based chemistry for optimum purification efficiency. Diesel variants utilize far higher platinum ratios inside catalytic converters but the crucial gas engine auto market centers palladium demand.
Industry research firm SFA Oxford estimates over 80% of palladium consumption feeds automotive demand as the most efficient catalyst for gas powered vehicles. Hybrid and plug-in EVs also utilize palladium converters until batteries stretch vehicle range towards 400+ miles.
According to UBS commodity analysis, current palladium auto catalyst loadings average 4-6 grams per vehicle. Yet tighter emission standards forthcoming particularly in China and India will force loadings higher by 30% in coming years. Those raised mandates combined with surging auto production forecast above 100 million annually this decade collectively promise great palladium demand escalation as standards rise just as hundreds of millions more vehicles hit roads globally by 2040.
Struggling Mine Output
While palladium demand grows thanks both rising living standards and environmental rules, mining supply remains largely stagnant with limited output upside anytime soon. The two largest producing countries Russia and South Africa face substantial geopolitical and infrastructure dysfunction threatening maximum production. Resource nationalism and sanctions limit export potential while power supplies and labor unrest disrupt local mining operations.
And known palladium reserves sit highly concentrated in these two unstable countries after over a century of production eroded many deposits worldwide. This leaves chronic supply deficit risk as new car sales keep booming globally amidst shrinking output potentials.
Rising Investment and Jewelry Interest
While palladium’s automotive catalytic demand dominates around 80% of consumption, residual usage comes from jewelry fabrication and a smaller but rising investment demand segment. These two minority palladium buyers become increasingly influential at the margin.
Thanks to rising wealth across China, India and the Middle East, retail jewelry appetite for palladium keeps expanding as the metal becomes more popular than the far more abundant platinum in those regions. This echoes a broader theme of deep affluent market appreciation for hard assets over paper wealth vulnerable to debasement.
Investment interest also respondsto negative real bond yields and money printing risks making palladium a hidden gem for investors recognizing deep inflation protection merits and crisis insurance utility like gold albeit in far smaller supply contexts. Hence opportunity for allocation flows to ignite appreciating prices as investors rebalance portfolios overweight unsafe assets into scarce inflation shelters like palladium.
Favorable Market Conditions
Beyond metal specific supply and demand drivers turning favorable long term, prevailing precious metals sentiment and positioning bodes quite constructive for palladium entering 2024. Broad markets assume weakening industrial input demand from recessionary threats will hamper commodities. But palladium’s deep supply deficits drastically exceeding gold and silver setups argue for resilience and substantial upside revisions should growth outlooks improve.
Additionally palladium positioning sits near historically light levels among managed futures traders and commodity pools whose trend following models exited longs during 2022 short term price weakness. This market failure to hold palladium despite strong fundamentals leaves positioning washed out and vulnerable to positive reversals on low expectations and easy supply comparisons.
Finally inflation outlooks changed drastically higher over the past 18 months but palladium prices remain 40% below previous highs – a disconnect untenable longer term without dramatic mining output increases unlikely soon enough. Hence opportunity for price mean reversion higher towards equilibrium.
To Recap – Exploit the Coming Palladium Price Surge
Palladium merits high priority consideration for precious metals investors thanks to deeply discounted prices despite durable long-term supply shortages colliding with automotive catalytic demand seeing exponential growth trajectories over the crucial decade ahead.
While risks certainly exist investing in industrial commodities like palladium, current negative psychology and recessionary sentiment offers a compelling reversion opportunity before scarcity realities manifest from unrelenting auto emission standards against challenged mining dynamics.
Once consensus views clarify towards persistent inflation and solid growth restoring commodity bull trends, palladium should regain its previous shine trading back above $2500+ into mid decade.
Savvy investors have a narrow window to exploit today’s reasonable accumulation prices before market comprehension of widening palladium supply deficits sparks the next structural breakout leg higher towards $4,000 as the 2020s progress. Gradually building exposure in physical coins, allocated certificates, and futures-based funds makes asymmetric sense while palladium goes overlooked relative to crypto assets and mainstream metals.
In another related article, Why Smart Investors Are Investing in Platinum in 2024