In all the precious metals, gold is the majority popular as an investment. Investors usually buy gold as a hedge or safe haven against any economic, political, social, or currency-based crises. These crises include investment market declines, inflation, war, and social unrest. Investors also buy gold during times of a bull market to gain financially.
Silver is like other precious metals may be used as an investment. For more than thousand years silver has been regarded as a form of money and store of value.
Palladium may be used as an investment. Palladium price peaked near US$1,100 per troy ounce in January 2001 (approximately US$1300 in 2007 dollars) driven mostly on speculation of the catalytic con1verter demand from in the automobile industry. In recent years palladium surplus condition was caused by the Russian government selling off government stockpiles built up throughout the Soviet Era, at a pace of about 1.6 to 2 million ounces a year. The amount and status of this stockpile is kept as a state secret.
Platinum has a much shorter history in the financial sector than either gold or silver, which were known to very old civilizations. Platinum is comparatively scarce even among the precious metals. New mine production totals approximately only 5 million troy ounces a year. In difference gold mine production runs approximately 82 million ounces a year, and silver production is approximately 547 million ounces. As such it tends to trade at higher per-unit prices.
Platinum is traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and the London Platinum and Palladium Market. To be saleable on most commodity markets, platinum ingots must be examined and hallmarked in a manner similar to the way gold and silver are.
The price of Platinum changes along with its supply and demand. During periods of continued economic stability and growth the price of platinum tends to be as much as twice the price of gold whereas throughout periods of economic uncertainty, the price of platinum tends to decrease due to reduced demand, falling below the price of gold, partly due to increased gold prices.
Diamonds are known as gemstones since the ancient times. Popularity of diamonds has risen since the 19th century because of successful advertising in spite of a greatly increased supply. Diamonds are not generally used as a mainline store of value during times of crisis, due to their lack of fungibility and low liquidity. However, they may still be useful during times of hyperinflation. Approximately 20% of mined diamonds are used in jewelry and 80% for industrial uses (such as lasers, drill parts and surgical equipment).
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