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Platinum, The Catalytic Converter & World Demand

September 15, 2010392 view(s)

Of all the different precious metals in the world, platinum is by far the rarest as it take approximately eight tons or raw ore mined from the ground to produce a single ounce of pure platinum. Approximately 90 percent of all platinum in the world comes from South Africa or Russia. While it is considered by many to be the finest metal for making jewelry, the majority of all platinum mined in South Africa is sold for industrial use long before it is pulled out of the ground. Thanks to modern technological advances you will find that over 20 percent of all consumer goods contain platinum and because it has some extremely unique chemical and physical properties, it can be used in many industrial applications.

Among the many products that contain or make use of platinum are computer hard drives, fiber optic cables, eyeglasses, gasoline and the catalytic converters (used to reduce tailpipe emissions in today's automobiles) to name but a few. With the ever increasing emission control standards around the world, over 30 percent of all platinum mined is used in the manufacture of catalytic converters. New fuel cell technology that is poised to become the power of the future relies heavily on platinum as the main catalyst that makes it all possible. This has boosted the demand for this precious metal to new heights and the trend is expected to continue. Japan accounts for the purchase of over 40 percent of all platinum jewelry as they are enamored with the understated beauty of this metal, and its sheer tensile strength that makes it the ideal setting for precious gems and stones. It is also completely resistant to all known forms of corrosion and has a very high melting point of 3215 degrees Fahrenheit.

Several countries have begun to issue platinum bullion coins as investment tools including the Canadian Maple Leaf, Chinese Panda and the Platinum American Eagle. The continued rise in demand has led to the coining of the phrase "high octane gold" as the market price continues to soar. Each of these coins is made 99.95 percent pure or proof and can now be included in IRA retirement portfolios. They are available in full one ounce sizes and a variety of fractional sizes. This makes it possible for a wide range of investors to utilize the commodities markets and invest in bullion coins that are all but guaranteed to continue to rise in value as the demand spirals upward for platinum. This metal is considered by most investors to be safer than gold as it is currently in far more demand and there is a far smaller supply.

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