Saturday, March 29, 2008

The State of the Economy and Global Commodity Pricing

I read this article in the NY Times about how thieves are stealing catalytic converters for the intrinsic value of the precious metals inside, details below, and it made think a few thoughts:

  • What is driving these thefts? Economy? Commodity Pricing?
  • What are thieves going to think of next to steal, expecially if the economy gets even worse?
  • Are commodity prices going to continue to skyrocket? Is this driven be global demand - the China and India effect? A weak dollar? or most likely both.

The price of gold recently hit record highs, crossing the $1,000-an-ounce mark before retreating a bit. Less well publicized has been the fate of the even-more rarefied metals platinum, palladium and rhodium, with platinum hitting recent record highs of more than $2,300 an ounce. People who may have thought their lives had nothing to do with the booming commodities market are finding out the hard way where their connection is — in their car’s exhaust system.

The catalytic converter is made with trace amounts of platinum, palladium and rhodium, which speed chemical reactions and help clean emissions at very high temperatures. Selling stolen converters to scrap yards or recyclers, a thief can net a couple of hundred dollars apiece.

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