Rhodium's prices surged 31% in January to US$7,925 per ounce, reaching its highest since 2008, Bloomberg reported Jan. 13, citing price data from Johnson Matthey PLC.
Rhodium, mainly used in autocatalysts, rallied 12-fold in the past four years and outperformed all major commodities, as demand from the auto sector rose due to stricter emission rules.
"The main driver by the beginning of January was physical demand from Asia, which might be also automotive related," said Andreas Daniel, a trader at refiner Heraeus Holding GmbH, according to the report.
"Buying triggered more buying and in an unregulated market the effect was massive, with a price move which is only seen maybe every 10 years," Daniel said.
"Rhodium is subject to crazy volatility," said PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co.'s head of analysis and market development, Anton Berlin, according to Bloomberg. The Russian company mines about 10% of all rhodium.
Bloomberg also mentioned that investors turned to precious metals in January as they seek a safe haven amid tensions from Middle East.
All four precious metals — namely gold, silver, platinum and palladium — began 2020 above where they were at the start of 2019, with the benefit of positive price momentum coming through December to year-end, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team.