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Rhodium slips on more liquidation, lower offers

Washington — Rhodium prices slipped further this week on more reported liquidation by speculative players and lower offers from refiners to industrial consumers.

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The Platts New York Dealer rhodium price range dropped to $2,370-$2,450/oz from $2,370-$2,475/oz last week.

"It was nothing major, but there was some continuation from the previous week's sellers," one PGMs refiner said Thursday, putting the range of physical deals this week at $2,355-$2,425/oz.

"I think some of the major players are still looking to get out of their positions. But I also saw a lot of good two-way action. There are definitely some bids around and two-way interest," he added.

Rhodium prices have fallen over the past two weeks on liquidation from exchange-traded funds and refiner selling after prices failed to break above $2,600/oz in late September/early October.

One Northeast dealer who saw the market at $2,370-$2,450/oz reported a steady stream of bids at $2,370/oz and some at $2,380/on Thursday.

A second PGMs refiner who put the market at $2,390-$2,450/oz said industrial consumers were content to let offers and prices decline.

"We're didn't really see the bids coming out until it hit that $2,400/oz level, and then some bids came in. It definitely found support there," he said.

A second dealer in the Northeast agreed, saying "There was pretty good demand just below $2,400/oz," and put the range of deals this week at $2,370-$2,440/oz.

Delegates attending the LBMA/LPPM Precious Metals Conference in Boston last week were generally bullish about the PGMs for 2019, especially palladium.

Like palladium and platinum, rhodium is used in automobile catalytic converters to control the emission of certain gases and pollutants.

Catalytic converters are expected to remain in light-duty passenger vehicles until through 2025, when battery-electric and fuel-cell vehicles become more popular.

But many analysts believe vehicles with internal combustion engines and converters will become more efficient over time, thereby slowing the adoption of BEVs and FCVs.

Though rhodium has been in balance for most of this decade, deficits are expected after 2020 due to continued auto demand and reduced production from South Africa, CFO Justin Froneman of PGMs producer Sibanye Stillwater said in a presentation at the conference. -- Nick Jonson, nick.jonson@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Derek Sands, newsdesk@spglobal.com