The science behind palladium
In nearly all respects, palladium is platinum's poor sister. It shares nearly all of platinum's characteristics, just with less of each by volume and value. There are subtle differences between the two to be sure, but the same can also be said about rhodium, another member of the PGM family. Indeed, rhodium is today commonly alloyed with both platinum and palladium in autocatalysts. This leaves palladium in a unique position in that, while it is a platinum substitute, it also has a substitute of its own. The palladium price is thus normally a subtle function of the prices of its other substitutes and all of these prices tend to move more or less in tandem with demand for autocatalysts and a few other niche industrial uses. This all contributes to making its price highly volatile and somewhat capricious from the perspective of one who does not understand the subtleties of the autocatalyst market. One potential issue with plalladium supply which can also contribute to its volatilty is that over 80% of global production is sourced from just a few mines, including in Russia and South Africa, jurisdictions in which there remains a high degree of political risk, relative to say North America.