Palladium is a shiny, silvery-white metal which belongs to the group of precious metals.
It was named after the asteroid Pallas, in turn named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, Pallas.
Palladium is a popular metal for industrial uses as the product is generally cheaper than platinum while at the same time being softer and being ductile and resistant to rust.
Most of it is used in catalytic converters for cars, in the electronics industry - in ceramic capacitors, found in laptop computers and mobile phones. It is also applied in jewellery and some dental fillings and crowns. Sometimes palladium is used in an alloy with gold to produce white gold.
Divided palladium is a good catalyst and is used for hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions. Hydrogen easily diffuses through heated palladium and this provides a way of separating and purifying the gas.
Thanks to the heavy industrial demand, prices of the metal are often heavily correlated to automobile production and usage making the metal increasingly dependent on emerging markets.
Investors seeking exposure to palladium, can buy futures contracts on palladium or purchase and hold the physical metal in the form of coins or bars. Investors can also purchase stocks or ETFs of companies that mine the metal as the primary way to achieve equity exposure. Finally, it is also possible to buy palladium ETFs, either ones that track the futures for the metal or those that physically hold the product in secure vaults.