The metal rhodium reached $20190 an ounce on Wednesday, up from $16990 on Dec. 31 and $615 in 2016. The price of rhodium has risen by 3000% in five years, and the price of 1.5kg of rhodium alone is now close to $1 million.
The rise in the price of rhodium shows no sign of stopping, rising 19% this month. Because the supply of rhodium is limited, but increasingly stringent emission regulations require this metal to meet car manufacturing. Automakers consume about 85% of rhodium in China, the largest market.
The pandemic tightened the market and the blockade disrupted mining and transport in South Africa (the largest producer). Meanwhile, the processing facility operated by Anglo American (Amplats) was shut down, reducing the total supply of rhodium by 16 per cent last year. By contrast, demand has fallen by 10 per cent, resulting in a market shortage of about 1 million ounces a year, and the rhodium market will remain tight in 2021 and is likely to push prices higher.