10.28.11 Weekly Recap

Gold is becoming an increasingly important portfolio balancing tool. The World Gold Council reports that even if investors hold alternative assets, they are not a substitute for the protection offered by a distinct allocation to Gold. The council commented,  “Even a small allocation to Gold, by mitigating risk, can consistently increase the returns from a portfolio.”

Gold has had a good week with solid positive gains. “Nobody really wants to go short on Gold,” said Bernard Sin of MKS Finance SA. “I don’t think Europe will be out of the woods yet.” Currently, there is physical demand in India due to the Diwali festival. Nick Trevethan of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. said, “We’re seeing some progress in Europe, but the market’s been  disappointed before. There’s still a lot of good reasons to be holding Gold. The world is still relatively shaky; we’re a low interest rate environment in  many parts of the world.”

Leaders in the euro zone have agreed upon a plan to shore up Greece’s debt burden and to contain the debt crisis in the whole region. In the agreement, private bondholders will take a 50% write-down on their holdings of Greek debt, the European Financial Stability Facility will be increased to over 1 trillion euros, and there will be a recapitalization of European banks.

However, even with a plan in place to help contain the euro zone debt crisis, naysayers are already coming out of the woodwork saying the measures taken are short term at best and expect doubts to return. “The very best you can hope for is it buys you time,” said Jonathan Loynes, Capital Economics’s Chief European Economist. “It avoids an imminent catastrophe and means Greece should be able to meet its obligations in the near future, and it may restore a bit of confidence. But it won’t prevent the debt crisis overall from rambling on and indeed escalating.” Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou came out in support  of the plan as well, saying, “The crisis gives us the opportunity and this agreement gives us time. We negotiated and managed to erase a very important  part of our debt. Tens of billions of euros have been lifted from the backs of the Greek people.”

The U.S. weekly first-time jobless claims report showed a drop of 2,000 while the four-week moving average fell closer to the pivotal 400,000 mark. In an optimistic report, the U.S. gross domestic product rose by 2.5% in the third quarter, showing that the economy is expanding at a rate nearly double that of the second quarter. Inflation is also believed to be down to the 2.0% level, which lowered from the 3.3% level in the second quarter.

Lawmakers may be becoming complacent in their efforts to close the federal spending gap; Reuters reported that many lawmakers do not think another credit rating downgrade could affect the economy. Congressman Michael Grimm said, “There have been some that think we can absorb another [downgrade] and they hide behind the fact that the credibility of the ratings agencies has been called into question.” The attitude that the United States is the “cleanest dirty shirt” may cause paralysis in a congress that is  divided on such a hot-button issue.

Hedge funds seem to be betting against another recession. Many have placed bets on commodities which generally increase in value while coming out of a recession. “People are looking around saying, ‘You know what, the world isn’t ending,’” said John Stephenson, SVP and Fund Manager for First Asset Investment Management Inc. Silver, Platinum, and Palladium are all very industrial metals with many uses as raw materials and an increase in manufacturing levels may mean increased demand for those as raw materials.

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,638.40. The high was on Friday, Oct. 28th at $1,754.00, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, Oct. 24th $1,636.60. Gold ended the week up $107.10 at $1,745.50. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $31.23. Silver reached a high of $35.70 on Friday, Oct. 28th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, Oct. 24th at $31.23. Silver ended the week up $4.18 at $35.41. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,509.50 and ended the week up $140.10 at $1,649.60. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $616.40 and ended the week up $52.60 at $669.00. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Sunshine Gold Bars

APMEX is proud to offer Sunshine Minting Gold Bars in 5 gram, 10 gram, and 1 ounce sizes. Sunshine Minting is one of the premier minting companies in the world. Based in Idaho, Sunshine Minting is an American company that produces 24k (.9999  pure) Gold bars. These little pieces of inflationary protection come in their own tamper-evident packaging to ensure quality control and convenient storage.

APMEX and Sunshine Minting have come together to offer our customers high quality Gold bullion at affordable prices. Log on to APMEX.com to grab your own self-contained piece of perfection today.

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Your Portfolio in These Uncertain Times: Gold Now?

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Is Your Portfolio Prepared for the Current Markets and the Next 3 to 5 Years of Economic Issues?

What You can Learn from the 2008 Liquidity Crisis:
How Gold Performed In and After the Market Fall

The global markets are in turmoil and seeking liquidity as a result of the current events. Perhaps now is the time you need to think about re-balancing your portfolio to weather these adjustments and set your course for the next 3 to 5 years. Today, more investors seek a balanced portfolio with all four asset classes: stocks, bonds, cash and Gold – the fourth asset class.

Gold is a global storehouse of value and prices can slide at times like these as some investors need to raise cash from one of their most liquid and most trusted assets, Gold, to cover losses and margin calls in other markets. Many advisors are commenting on the parallel of the current markets in Europe to the liquidity crisis that occurred in 2008 with U.S. markets and the Lehman collapse. In the 2008 crisis, Gold provided a source of liquidity as investors sold off some of their Gold holdings to meet their requirements.

Gold compared to S&P 500 from 2008 through 2011In this chart beginning three years ago, you can see how history demonstrates that Gold recovered from the crisis in September and October 2008 while the S&P 500 has continued in weakness as global economies have been mired in too much government debt. Now consider today: do you have a forecast for the next 3 to 5 years of the U.S. and world economies becoming stronger or weaker? Perhaps history can be a teacher.

With Gold now providing liquidity for those who need it, perhaps this is the opportunity for you to begin or add to your Gold holdings. As you consider the balance in your portfolio, it is important to keep your investment horizon, perhaps the next 3 to 5 years, as your guide.

Do you have questions? Our non-commissioned Account Managers are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time at 888-518-7464.

Our Most Popular Gold Investments

Gold American Eagle

1 oz. Gold American Eagles as low as $89.99 per coin over spot

Since the Gold American Eagle was introduced in 1986, it has been in high demand. Its stately appearance and proud symbolism make the Gold American Eagle one of the world’s most popular forms of personal Gold ownership.

Gold American Eagle

1 oz. Gold Canadian Maple Leafs as low as $69.99 per coin over spot

Gold Canadian Maple Leaf bullion coins are a great way to invest. Many consider the Maple Leaf to be one of the world’s most beautiful Gold coins. Each Gold Maple Leaf coin is legal tender, guaranteed by the Canadian government for its weight and .9999 fine purity.

Balance your portfolio with the 4th asset class of Gold today.

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8.19.11 WEEKLY RECAP

Markets were still highly volatile this week and the lack of certainty has pushed Gold to new record highs.  Stocks are suffering from fears of a double-dip recession due to weak economic data in practically every sector. 

Early in the week, the markets were buoyed by the European Central Bank announcing that last week it began buying Italian and Spanish securities. According to Christoph Rieger, head of fixed-income strategy at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, “The market optimists will interpret this number as good news as it underscores the ECB’s resolve…Equally, the pessimists will point out that it is bad news as it shows how much money the ECB had to commit for the yield compression seen.” This came about primarily due to a failure of politicians to convince investors that the debt crisis could be contained.  Many experts are pushing for a new “Eurobond,” saying that such a common bond issuance would allow euro zone members to borrow at affordable rates, thereby solving the current debt crisis. However, the German government is strongly against the idea of issuing Eurobonds, fearing that such a move would increase borrowing costs for Germany while also reducing the incentive for troubled euro zone countries (such as Greece) to make necessary economic reforms.

All hopes of a common Eurobond went away on Tuesday; however, as the highly anticipated meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday did not satisfy world investors. The growing feeling is that plans for closer monitoring of fiscal policy in the euro zone are not enough to stop the debt problem from spreading to other countries.  This news, along with weak data about the overall health of the German economy caused jittery traders to lose the shred of confidence they had gained over the previous few days.

All of this culminated in a massive selloff late in the week, led by large losses in European financial sector.  World equity markets are plunging Thursday and Friday and the European banks are the cause for concern. Major Banks across the euro zone are sharply lower, as the news broke that the European Central Bank lent $500 million Euros to a euro zone bank, that had not requested a loan since last February. Although no details were offered, the market reads this as another sign of escalating difficulties in the European financial system, which could also affect U.S. banks.

Weekly Spot Prices

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,744.40. The all-time record high was on Friday, Aug. 19th at $1,881.80, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, Aug. 8th at $1,730.80. Gold ended the week up $112.90 at $1,857.30. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $39.18. Silver reached a high of $43.04 on Friday, Aug. 19th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, Aug. 15th at $38.69. Silver ended the week up $3.86 at $43.04. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,801.00 and ended the week up $79.10 at $1,880.10. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $749.00 and ended the week up $6.10 at $755.10. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week.

 GOLD BUFFALO COINS 

 In 2006, the United States Mint introduced its first 24-karat pure Gold coin: the Gold Buffalo Coin. The Gold Buffalo coin is designed after the famous 1913 Type 1 Buffalo Nickel created by James Earle Fraser. The obverse shows the well-known Indian Head design, and the reverse features the classic buffalo design.

The Native American depiction on the Gold coin’s obverse is believed to be based on three different American Indians.  Before his death, Fraser named two of the American Indians- Chief Iron Tail of the Lakota Sioux and Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne.  Although many Indians have claimed to be the third Indian, Fraser could not recall the person’s name.  It is widely believed that the bison on the coin’s reverse was modeled after Black Diamond, a popular attraction at the New York Zoological Gardens.

The 2006 and 2007 Gold Buffalo coins were a huge success; they provided pure-gold competition for the Canadian Gold Maple Leafs. The 2008-W Gold Buffalo is the prize of the Buffalo collection.  2008 is the only year fractional Gold American Buffalos were minted and they are scarce. The 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 Gold Buffalo coins are .9999 fine and are only available in a 1 oz coin.

To add the stunning 24-karat Gold Buffalo coins to your Gold coin collection or Gold portfolio, shop APMEX’s wide selection of Gold Buffalo coins. APMEX makes it easy to buy Gold by offering competitive Gold prices on all Gold coins.

 

Balance your portfolio with Gold today.

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Should the Governments Buy GOLD?

 

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The World Gold Council reports that the world’s central banks hold roughly 29,000 tons of Gold. Photo by Richard Perry/ New York Times.

 (Article reprinted from The New York Times,  Aug. 2, 2011.)

 

 Introduction

Private investors and central banks have scrambled in recent years to stock up on gold. This summer, they drove the price over $1,600 an ounce for the first time ever.

For millennia, people have killed and died in pursuit of gold. In the recent downturn, so many investors have been eager to buy gold that it is sold in vending machines. Governments are as captivated by it as individuals are: for nearly a century, many nations’ central banks have stashed hoards of gold bullion in a vault at the New York Federal Reserve.

When asked recently why central banks hold gold rather than, for instance, diamonds, Ben Bernanke said “tradition.” Given the long history of humans considering gold valuable, does it make sense to continue this tradition, or should central banks focus on other assets with more intrinsic value?

Debater 1:   It Had to Be Gold

By Sanat K. Kumar, who spoke to “Planet Money” about gold in February,  is chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University.

Anyone trying to think of some other element or compound to take the role of gold should consider why it has been used as a currency since time immemorial. If we are looking for something to be useful as currency, we need a commodity that meets a few requirements: First, its composition must be easy to define. It should also be relatively immutable, but not so inert that it cannot be purified into the form that is acceptable as an asset. It should be rare but not so rare that it is impossible to find. It is easy to see how ancient civilizations came to consider gold a magical, mythical material: it satisfied all these demands.

Gold is relatively unreactive, but it has a low enough melting point that it could be processed easily by past civilizations. In contrast, something like platinum, which is also relatively inert chemically, has a melting point of 3,000 degrees Celsius. This made platinum almost impossible to process until relatively recently. Similarly, gold is rare in the earth’s crust, but there is enough of it to go around.

Still, times have changed. Let us consider the issue today: Processing is no longer a problem. We can readily purify elements like platinum, rhodium and others, or we can synthesize any desired compound to practically any degree of purity. The issue of contamination is also no longer germane.

Thus the only modern requirements for an asset are rarity and immutability — and a suite of compounds and elements would qualify. So gold is no longer the one and only thing that could be used as an asset. Indeed, Ben Bernanke is correct — the argument for it is simply tradition. The value placed on gold comes from an emotional attachment handed down to us from our ancestors.

Debater 2:  A Proven Asset

By Ron Paul, a United States representative from Texas who is running for president for the third time, is the founder of Campaign for Liberty. He is the author of “The Revolution: A Manifesto” and “End the Fed.”

No asset has intrinsic value. An object is only valuable insofar as it is able to satisfy the wants and needs of individuals, and its value is determined by the subjective judgments of individuals. No other commodity has been as universally valued over time and across as many societies as gold.

Gold satisfies all the properties of money. It is durable, portable and easily divisible into bars and coins that share uniform properties. It is easily recognizable through visual, tactile, chemical and other means. Gold’s value and purchasing power are stable over time, as its supply grows slowly and it cannot be created ad infinitum as paper or digital currency can be.

Because of these properties, gold has always been considered an ideal store of value and medium of exchange, and central banks have always sought to hold it because it is the ultimate monetary backstop. When society and the monetary system break down, even if nothing else is accepted as a medium of exchange, gold still will be.

The Federal Reserve does not actually own gold; it only holds gold certificates as an asset. It is the Treasury Department that claims ownership of United States gold reserves. Historically, gold itself circulated as money, in the form of coins. Paper currency began to circulate for the sake of convenience, but these were only promissory notes that could be redeemed in “lawful money,” i.e. gold, on demand. Once the use of paper currency was established and most gold was held in bank vaults, the government seized the gold and left the people holding paper that could no longer be redeemed for gold. The paper currency was immediately devalued by 40 percent, reducing Americans’ purchasing power by an equal amount.

I would prefer to see the government not hold the gold it does. It should be returned to the people from whom it was taken. There is no need for the government to hoard gold or to keep gold in vaults as backing for currency; gold itself should be the currency that circulates.

 

Debater 3:  Gold Fever Is a Symptom of Inflation Fears

By Allan H. Meltzer, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, is the author of “History of the Federal Reserve, Volume I: 1913-1951″ and “Volume II: 1951-1986.”

Gold was money through most of our history, although after 1934 it was restricted to settlements between central banks. Its role in international payment settlements was further restricted in 1968, and it ended in 1971 when President Richard M. Nixon embargoed gold sales and floated the dollar exchange rate. After 1971, several central banks sold some of their gold stocks because the only revenue from holding gold is the speculative return if the gold price rises. After all, gold is no longer money, and holding it earns no interest.

Gold is a commodity with a unique history. It allows individuals to readily transport large monetary values, so it has long been favored by refugees. People who fear inflation or confiscation of wealth buy gold, expecting it will be stable or rise enough to protect the holder. That was true for European refugees in the 1930s, and French and Indian citizens have long been famous for holding gold.

Today, uncertainty about the future financing of large U.S. budget deficits and inflationary Federal Reserve policy are increasing the demand for gold. People in China and other nations with inflationary policies are also stocking up on it. Saudi Arabian sheiks protect part of their wealth by holding gold.

The modern frenzy for gold is a symptom of a fundamental concern: inflation. The world would benefit from an agreement by major central banks in Europe, Japan and the United States to maintain zero inflation. China could join after it removed its exchange controls. That agreement would allow other countries to fix their exchange rates and “import” low inflation. The world would have both more stable prices and more stable exchange rates.

The unrestrained U.S. monetary policy since we abandoned gold has not provided stability.

(End of reprint)

Follow the example of the central banks around the world; add Gold to your investment portfolio. APMEX is one of the most trusted and largest dealers of Gold and precious metals. APMEX maintains one of the world’s largest selections of precious metal products, including the popular Gold American Eagle Coins and the Gold Canadian Maple Leaf Coins.   

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Gold As An Insurance Policy

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Are you intrigued about the reasons why investors are purchasing more Gold? A primary reason for this interest in Gold is its role as an insurance policy. Possibly because no one has ever defaulted on Gold, it is considered an insurance policy that will pay out when needed.  The following are examples of how Gold reinforces that belief and how it provides financial security and protection against uncertainty:

  • The fragile economic recovery we are experiencing in the U.S.
  • The high level of debt in our cities, states and federal government.
  • The fragile economic recovery in the European Union, Russia, Japan and many other parts of the world.
  • The sovereign debt crisis in Greece, Portugal and Ireland that threatens to spread into Italy and Spain and eventually the entire European Union.
  • The geopolitical tensions in the Middle East; India and Pakistan; North & South Korea and elsewhere
  • The volatile currency markets. Even Central Banks are becoming less reliant on paper money and trading it for gold.
  • The devaluation of the U.S. dollar.
  • Investors try to deal in financial markets which move at the speed of light, and where “flash crashes” occur and one year later can still not be explained.
  • Inflation in the U.S. and other countries where governments choose to print more money to cover their debts.
  • Black Swan Events. The recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor problems devastated Japan. Unexpected events with severe negative consequences cannot be predicted. We know they will come but we cannot anticipate the time and locations.

Gold holds value in times of uncertainty where your other investments do not. There is an old saying, “Put 5-10% of your money in Gold and 90-95% into the three primary asset classes; then every night go to bed and hope Gold prices go down because that means everything else just went up.” 

Geoff Varner, APMEX Account Manager

Take the APMEX 5 Day Challenge!

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We are a society of “movers” and we are constantly on the go.  We consume gallons of coffee and energy drinks to keep us alert and we eat power bars to keep us going. Who has time to search for news about the economy, the geopolitical scene, and the precious metals market? We want our information to be short, concise and right now.  APMEX realizes the importance of your time, the significance of knowing current events, and how it pertains to your portfolio.

APMEX takes the time to find this news for you. APMEX combines it into a few short bits to keep you informed and prepared for what is happening in the world; saving you from having to put your day on hold to search and sift through an overload of information.  You will find this market information in the APMEX daily commentaries delivered Monday-Friday:  8:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. (CDT.) You have the opportunity to read the one-page articles as they are posted, or you may read all three posts at the close of each business day. By the end of this 5-day business week, you will be more educated about the value of your precious metals portfolio and the events around the world that affect your investment.

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Weekly Recap 6.24.2011

The sovereign debt crisis in the United States and the European Union dominated the news headlines this week; this has been another volatile week in all markets. 

On Monday,  Mohammed El-Erian, the CEO of PIMCO, told an Italian newspaper, “All of this has terrible human consequences and it’s associated with a transfer of liabilities from private creditors to European taxpayers. … [I]f this approach is kept up, more money will be wasted to save private creditors and the risk of a disorderly restructuring of the debt will be greater.”

Fitch, a ratings agency, reduced Greece’s credit rating to CCC; this rating indicates a 50% chance of default within 3-5 years. Fitch also took the opportunity to warn the U.S. that its credit rating would be placed on negative watch if an agreement to raise the debt ceiling is not reached by August 2. Although other agencies have issued warnings, Fitch was the first to talk about an actual U.S. rating downgrade.

On Wednesday, George Papandreou, Greece’s Prime Minister, survived a vote of confidence required for him to remain in office.  Papandreou is in favor of new austerity measures demanded by the IMF and EU in exchange for a new round of bailouts.  The fact that he received the vote of confidence is a sign that a compromise may yet be possible.

A new jobs report was released on Thursday; the results were a down sliding surprise.  The report showed that the number of people on state unemployment benefits rose by 9,000 when it was expected to fall by 1,000.  While either move would have been relatively small, this is another economic indicator that the recovery is not going as fast as desired.  At a press conference on Thursday, Ben Bernanke said, “We don’t have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting.”  Also, negotiations between top U.S. lawmakers from both parties broke down as Republicans unexpectedly walked out, citing an impasse regarding the tax increases demanded by Democrats.

Michael Haynes, the CEO of APMEX, was invited to speak on CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange on Thursday about the recent activity of central banks. Traditionally, central banks are a source of Gold supply in the retail Gold market; now many central banks purchase and hold Gold. 

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,539.50. The high during the week was on Wednesday, June 22nd   at $1,559.30, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, June 24th at $1,498.50. Gold ended the week down $36.20 at $1,503.30. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $35.88. Silver reached a high of $36.77 on Wednesday, June 22nd while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Friday, June 24th at $34.45. Silver ended the week down $1.45 at $34.43. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1755.00 and ended the week down $67.00 at $1,688.00. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $748.00 and ended the week down $12.60 at $735.40. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:  (1 oz) .999 Fine Palladium Bar/ Pamp Suisse (w/Assay Card)

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The 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bar is a world-renowned bullion staple.  Palladium is considered to be platinum’s little brother, but it is worthy of its own respect.  The design of this bar is uniquely Pamp Suisse and the included assay card guarantees its authenticity.  Like platinum, palladium is considered a precious metal whose market worth is closely tied to the manufacturing sector.  Palladium is used to make everything from surgical instruments to catalytic converters.  The international demand for palladium has caused the spot price to nearly double in the last twelve months.  As worldwide manufacturing increases, so should the spot price of palladium.

Fun Fact: White gold is a combination of gold and palladium.

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