Jan 22, 2020

Rhodium prices roar to 11-year high

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The price of rhodium, a metal used in fine jewelry and car parts, has skyrocketed over the last few months. It has jumped by more than 50% in just the first three weeks of January, reaching a price more than six times that of gold and the highest since late 2008, FactSet data show.

What's happening: "Surging demand from carmakers is partly to blame," the Economist writes. "More than four-fifths of global demand for both rhodium and palladium comes from the automotive industry. The metals, together with platinum, help convert toxic gases in a vehicle’s exhaust system (such as carbon monoxide) into less harmful substances before they exit the tailpipe."

Go deeper: Another twist in the U.S.-China battle over rare earths

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Gold rising with stocks, yen falling with bond yields

Data; FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Markets are behaving strangely as investors attempt to make sense of the growing threat of the novel coronavirus. Assets that typically move in opposite directions are moving together, and assets that traditionally are very correlated are taking inverse tracks.

State of play: The market's two most popular safe-haven assets, gold and the Japanese yen, have decoupled and are moving in opposite directions.

Oil markets may be overly spooked by coronavirus' energy impact

Two pedestrians in Jiangtan Park on Jan. 27 during the lockdown in Wuhan, China. Photo: Getty Images

Some analysts are beginning to wonder if oil markets are overly spooked by the potential for the coronavirus to dent energy demand as travel and economic activity are crimped.

Why it matters: The human health toll is what matters most, with at least 107 people dead so far. But the coronavirus is also rattling markets, and is arriving when the oil market was already awash in supplies and demand growth was modest.

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020

Copper is on life support

Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

The price of copper fell for a record 12th straight session on Thursday, falling to its lowest price on the New York Mercantile Exchange since September and its lowest on the London Metal Exchange since October.

Why it matters: Known as Dr. Copper, the metal is seen as a barometer of the economy's health because of its use in homebuilding and commercial construction.