Precious-metals analysts believe spot-market prices of palladium — the chief precious metal used in automotive catalytic converters — could soar to $500 per ounce or higher this year. The price of palladium has escalated by nearly 300% since early 1997. Analysts say that trepidation over the supply of palladium from Russia, which accounts for more than 70% of the world's supply, has caused the skyrocketing prices. Russia's volatile political environment is blamed for delays in bringing ...

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