United Catalyst Corporation and ScrapRight Integrate to Allow Users Access to Detailed Converter Data

As metal/scrap buying becomes more competitive, the United Ecosystem by UCC allows for detailed pricing live with the metals markets.


GREENVILLE  and PHILADELPHIA, April 10, 2024 / –United Catalyst Corporation, UCC, a precious metal processor, is partnering with recycling management software company, ScrapRight, to give access to the United Ecosystem (UE) BidTool, a converter and scrap pricing tool that is changing the landscape of vehicle purchasing. Through this collaboration over 600 scrap yards and their thousands of sellers will have access to this new technology.


UCC is excited to announce its newest software innovation the United Ecosystem (UE) BidTool. The UE BidTool allows users to insert a VIN or select a Year, Make, Model, Engine configuration, and the system will return the total number of catalytic converters on that car, the identities of those converters, pictures, and accurate pricing for each converter based on live PGM market prices. Current car bidding software allows buyers to know about 60% of the value of auto parts on the end-of-life vehicles with the largest unknown being the catalytic converters. The UE BidTool is the first-of-its-kind product that can fully bridge the knowledge gap between an auto recycler and their catalytic converter inventory. Now recyclers can know the price of their converter based off a scientifically proven process before they purchase the vehicle.


The UE BidTool gives automotive and scrap metal recyclers a competitive advantage and reduces risk by revealing the number and value of each catalytic converter on a vehicle.


One North American scrap metal company estimates that it is losing $50 Million a year in its car buying program without this data, while another leading company is reporting a 66% increase in car buying by using the UE BidTool the past four months. The accuracy, coverage, and quality of this technology is unrivaled and is very difficult to reproduce. The UE BidTool is only the first module in the United Ecosystem, with many more to come in the next year. The software has several patents pending.


This shared partnership between UCC and ScrapRight will allow scrap yards to save time and resources by offloading the administrative burden of managing payouts, including the complexities of handling unclaimed property. Streamlining the payout process while standing out with a seamless seller experience is key to helping scrap yards scale efficiently and maximize their profits in the coming years.


About ScrapRight

With a dedicated focus on the scrap industry, ScrapRight stands as the premier choice, catering to thousands of daily users and facilitating millions of monthly transactions. Renowned as the top-rated solution, our fully featured and innovative recycling software ensures seamless operations for scrap yards. We prioritize user satisfaction, offering unparalleled support and intuitive functionality. Our mission is to empower every scrap yard with comprehensive tools for compliance and efficient management of buying, inventory tracking, and selling processes. Whether for large enterprises or solo operations, we provide customizable turn-key or self-install solutions to suit diverse needs.


About United Catalyst Corporation

Headquartered in Fountain Inn, South Carolina, United Catalyst Corporation, UCC, is a leading industrial and technology company specializing in the recycling of precious metals from catalytic converters. Founded in 1992 by a family with a rich automotive background, we take immense pride in our commitment to sustainability and innovation. Our work brings the greener future closer because the carbon footprint of recycled metal is a fraction of that for mined metal. Sourcing materials from suppliers across the Americas and Australia-New Zealand, we serve a global network of smelting and refining customers. Our mission is to create recycling solutions that generate greater profits for the companies that work with us. We strive to uphold the highest ethical standards and commitment to excellence while swiftly pursuing our strategic vision for growth

The Commodity of Cats: Full-Serve and Self-Serve Yards

Converters are an important commodity to sell for any automotive recycler or scrap metal dealer. I can remember 10 years ago when they appeared less important, just another $50 core. We didn’t talk about converter recycling very much and it certainly didn’t command the attention and spending power of every tradeshow exhibit and magazine ad in the industry. But that’s what happens when a core skyrockets from $50 a unit to $350 in a very short period.




From what recyclers tell us, the value of the catalytic converter figures in differently to full-serve and self-serve yards. Most full-serve yards tell us they do not put the value of the catalytic converter into their purchase price for the vehicle, whereas most self-serve yards do. Funny, one full-serve recycler told his sons, “If we have to put the value of the catalytic converter into the price of the car, close the doors.” While a self-serve owner recently said that everyone is basically paying the same price for vehicles at auction and knowing the value of the cats at that time can give you an advantage when buying.

The problem then becomes the falling PGM prices. What happens when you put the value of the catalytic converter into the price of the car at auction and the PGM prices are tumbling like they are now. You have weeks before that vehicle is inventoried, and the converter is sold. You don’t want to be under water on any part of your inventory.

The value of this commodity remains an important issue. It appears that the best of times is clearly behind us now. We are unlikely to see $2,000 Palladium or $30,000 Rhodium ever again, at least not in the next three to five years. More likely you may see $1,350 Platinum, $1,000 Palladium, and $3,000 Rhodium by 2026 says Wilma Swarts, Director of PGM Research at Metals Focus. Easily bringing the average converter prices back down below $100.


The moral of this story is that the best of times is now. With $800 Platinum, $1,200 Palladium, $3,500 Rhodium, and an average unit price slightly north of $100, converter prices are still double what they were 10 years ago. Now is not the time to hold. Palladium and Rhodium prices can and will get worse. The importance of selling your catalytic converter commodities into the current market can not be overstated. Remember, catalytic converters are a commodity and commodity prices are typically volatile, especially when the supply of metal moves into a structural surplus with no demand to strengthen the price. Platinum is the only one of the PGM complex expected to increase in price over the next few years due to its use in NOx emissions control and the Hydrogen economy. Unfortunately, the converters coming out of late model yards today are predominantly Palladium and Rhodium cats with very little Platinum. If you have converters that you have been hoarding for thirty years, then you likely still have a fair amount of Platinum.


Work to get the most out of your converters. We know speed of payment is an issue when you need to reinvest back into inventory. There is a rule of thumb with converter recycling. The faster the payment, the more margin you typically give up. Selling by the piece or by auction yields quick cash while selling on assay takes a little more time but yields a higher net return when done correctly by a professional processor.


To learn more, or to stay informed on these topics, you can subscribe to our daily e-newsletter or get Platinum Group Metal prices texted twice daily to your phone, TEXT “Daily” to 844-713-PGMs (7467). You can also call us or email us at [email protected].


Becky Berube serves the recycling community as President of United Catalyst Corporation, is a Member of the Automotive Recycling Association’s Educational Programming Committee and is a Past President of the International Precious Metals Institute.

Platinum Group Metals 2023: Economic and Industrial Factors

Which economic and industrial factors affect the price of the Platinum Group Metals (PGMs), namely platinum, palladium, and rhodium, which subsequently impacts the price of scrap catalytic converters?

A Hedge Against Inflation
From an investment perspective, precious metals are non-interest-bearing assets. Investors will sometimes add precious metals to their portfolios as a hedge against inflation, increasing in value as the purchasing power of the dollar declines. Price volatility and the opportunity cost of other investments that compound and yield interest plus logistical considerations pose a downside to holding physical metal. Other investors prefer government bonds, namely Treasury Bills, which are shown to pay higher rates when inflation rises. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) offer a guaranteed rate of return by the government, albeit the rate is often lower than other government-backed securities. Note, the semi-annual coupon payment can trigger a taxable event. Finally, as a hedge against inflation, some investors will buy Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) which invest in precious metals while holding on to Treasuries as well. Treasuries may be more favorable tax-wise, but ETFs are taxed exactly like typical stock and bond securities.

The Big Factors: Inflation. The US Dollar. Treasury Bill Yields. Equity Markets.
Dr. Jonathan Butler, Mitsubishi’s Head of Business Development, stated in November that the US CPI inflation came in at 7.7%, the lowest since January and the third consecutive monthly drop. The equities and industrial commodities, including PGMs, rallied in the hopes that the Federal Reserve will start to slow interest rate hikes this year into next. At the beginning of December, ISRI Chief Economist, Joe Pickard, reported that The Federal Reserve Board (Fed) Chair Powell at the Brookings Institute, stated they have not seen “clear progress of slowing inflation.” Chair Powell mentioned that smaller rate increases could start in December, and that the Fed’s monetary restrictions will be kept in place. “We are tightening the stance of policy in order to slow growth in aggregate demand. Slowing demand growth should allow supply to catch up with demand and restore the balance that will yield stable prices over time. Restoring that balance is likely to require a sustained period of below-trend growth.”

Here in early December, the anticipation of smaller interest rate hikes in December and the beginning of 2023, has caused the yield of the inflation-adjusted Treasury Bills to drop. The US Dollar has pulled back against other major currencies. The US equity markets have reacted negatively to the better-than-expected jobs numbers. All these factors bode well for the precious metals complex in the near to medium term both as a risk/inflation hedge and in industrial demand.


Industrial Demand.
Summarized in a November 11th weekly PGM report from Mitsubishi’s Dr. Jonathan Butler, The European Commission finally announced its long-awaited Euro 7/VII emissions standards for light/heavy duty vehicles respectively. These will take effect from July 2025 for cars and vans and July 2027 for heavy duty vehicles. It is widely thought to represent the final generation of emissions rules before the phase-out of internal combustion engines, in the 2030s. On our initial reading of it, the new standards are neutral to mildly positive for PGM demand:

· In NOx control of light duty diesel vehicles, it brings the NOx limits into line with those of gasoline vehicles, which is mildly positive for demand, though many NOx control systems use non-PGM containing SCR and in any case the light duty diesel market remains in decline.
· It introduces emissions limits for ammonia for the first time (which may require a small amount of Pt to reduce ammonia slippage from diesel SCR catalysts).
· It introduces tighter NOx, particulate and CO limits for heavy duty vehicles – this is perhaps the most positive development from a PGM standpoint, though the implementation date is not until 2027.
· It removes conformity factors for both gasoline and diesel light duty emissions, so emissions limits have to be met under all driving conditions, though in reality many automakers were already working to achieve emissions targets without the inflated conformity levels in the light of dieselgate.


However, the rules are less stringent than initially expected, with no changes to existing Euro 6 limits on NOx and particulate numbers for gasoline vehicles and the new rules only really apply under extreme driving scenarios and therefore do not represent a broad-based change to loadings in the way that Euro 6 and previous generations of emissions standards did. The auto industry has lobbied hard against the imposition of tighter standards in the light of material supply, inflation and customer affordability issues. In the end, the rules as published do not please either environmental groups, who argued in favour of tighter standards, or the auto industry which claims Euro 7 will divert investment away from electric powertrains. They may also be somewhat academic in a market where consumer choice is clearly moving towards electric vehicles.


In the US there remains some pent-up demand for new automobiles. The global microchip shortage continues to limit auto production to 40-year low leaving cars on the road longer to an all-time high average of 18 years. Auto scrappage rates have dipped in the short term because of the limited supply and increased cost of end-of-life vehicles plus labor shortages to process the vehicles. In the medium to long term cars will continue to be scrapped resulting in higher and amounts of palladium-rich catalytic converters coming into the secondary supply. Long term, as the adoption of electric vehicles rises, the demand for and use of PGMs will decrease ultimately softening the price most markedly for palladium which is set to be poised for a first time surplus in coming years. If the long-haul fleet vehicles begin to make use of the hydrogen economy, you can expect a higher demand and increased price for platinum which is the primary PGM used in hydrogen-based fuel cell applications.

In the short to medium term, expect more of the same. The PGM outlook in brief for 2023 is that the new Euro 7/VII emissions standards for light/heavy duty vehicles will be neutral to mildly positive for PGM demand. PGM mine and recycling supply has decreased in 2022 along with auto production. The supply and demand are not set to soar any time soon with inflation concerns. The World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) Director of Research, Edward, Sterck, states that “the [platinum] market is moving into a meaningful deficit, and that the availability of above ground inventories is severely restricted and unlikely to offset that deficit in the rest of the world excluding China Within China, it is only likely to be offset if we see significantly higher platinum prices than we have today, which would then attract that inventory back into the markets. So, a meaningful deficit in 2023.” In the long term, as we move toward a hydrogen economy, continue to watch platinum.

To learn more, or to stay informed on these topics, you can subscribe to our daily e-newsletter or get Platinum Group Metal prices texted twice daily to your phone, TEXT “Daily” to 844-713-PGMs (7467). You can also call us or email us at [email protected].

$500m Seized in Nationwide Catalytic Converter Takedown. Know Your Customer more Important than ever. Who are you really doing business with?

On November 2, the Justice Department took down a nationwide catalytic converter theft ring with forfeiture more than $500 million in assets including homes, bank accounts, cash, and luxury vehicles. The Justice Department News stated, “Federal, state, and local law enforcement partners from across the United States executed a nationwide, coordinated takedown today of leaders and associates of a national network of thieves, dealers, and processors for their roles in conspiracies involving stolen catalytic converters sold to a metal refinery for tens of millions of dollars.” In total, over 21 individuals in 5 states have been arrested and/or charged for their roles in the conspiracy.

Who you do business with is becoming more important than ever. If you do not pay attention to who you transact with you could become a victim legally as well as financially. With the increase in precious metals prices and the surge in catalytic converter theft it is more important than ever that you know your customers and your suppliers.

In recent years, authorities in the US and abroad have increased their focus on modernizing and enforcing anti-money laundering and terrorism financing (AML) regulations. As part of these efforts, the US’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) proposed Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements in 2014, which became law in 2016.

KYC procedures are critical to helping you analyze and monitor risky customers. KYC is a legal requirement to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) laws.


Why Who You Sell to Is So Important?

Recently a very reputable recycler said to me, “Good people need to do business with good people.” This is true, but sometimes you don’t know if a company is “good people” and oftentimes you don’t think to check if a company is “good people” until something goes wrong. Unfortunately, in auto catalyst recycling, many unethical and criminal scandals abound. Converters get altered and sold under the guise of being more valuable than they are; full truckloads of scrap catalytic converters get paid for and never delivered; the money used to pay you for your converters can be money that is being “laundered.” Act before you are a victim or become part of an audit or investigation.

Create a Know Your Customer (KYC) Process

Each company is different, but the KYC process has similarities. Are you ready to Know Your Customer?


Step #1: Have Customers Fill Out a KYC Form
When you are considering working with a potential company, be upfront about your KYC policy. Say that you are interested in being compliant with AML laws and must work with reputable companies to protect yourself and your company from any implication. First, you need to establish the identity of your customer by having them fill out the following information on a KYC Form either in paper or electronically to begin assessing the risk:
· Title (e.g., owner)
· Address
· Phone number
· Email address
· Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Social Security Number
· Proof of identity (e.g., passport, driver’s license)
· Signature
· Date


Step #2: Develop a Customer Identification Program (CIP)
To start your KYC procedure and remain compliant, develop a Customer Identification Program. In your CIP, outline how you will verify customers’ identities. Include what information you will ask potential customers for and how you will go about verifying the information provided. Consider also including how you will notify customers about your KYC policy and identity verification procedure.


Step #3: Look at Customer Due Diligence (CDD)
Customer Due Diligence is an important element in managing risks and protecting you and your business. With CDD, you must identify and understand your customers’ activities. Then, you can use the information you find to assess how risky they are to your business. Given the consequences of non-compliance (evidenced by unprecedented AML-related penalties levied against the industry in the past few years including jail time), companies should begin their implementation efforts as soon as possible, based on the proposed requirements and industry best practices. The most important part of due diligence is to establish the ownership and activities of the companies you sell to.

While FinCEN’s proposal does not specify risk factors that must be considered in assessing a customer-entity’s AML risk, companies should at a minimum consider the following questions:
· How complex is the customer’s ownership structure? Anyone with more than 10% ownership should be recorded.
· Is the customer operating in a heavily regulated industry? No? This is high risk.
· Is the customer’s home jurisdiction (or any of its neighboring jurisdictions) subject to sanctions, or home to terrorist organizations?
· Do the customer’s home jurisdiction lack effective AML regulations or have high levels
of corruption?
· To what extent is the customer’s business cash-based? This is particularly high risk.
· Has the customer taken any measures to mask the identity of its shareholders (e.g., via
nominee shareholders or bearer shares)?
· Is the institution’s relationship with the customer face-to-face?


Step #4: Continue to Monitor Customers
Now, you may think your job is done once you assess the customer’s risk and verify their identity. However, KYC is an ongoing process. Just because a customer passed your KYC test does not mean they should be off the hook. Continue to monitor each of your customers for risky activity. Some factors you should continue keeping an eye on include:
· Spikes in activities
· Patterns in unusual behavior
· Illegal activities

If you find a current or potential customer has suspicious activity, terminate the business relationship as soon as possible. Depending on your business, you or your bank can report the activity. Banking institutions can file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) to report unusual customer activity.


To learn more, or to stay informed on these topics, you can subscribe to our daily e-newsletter or get Platinum Group Metal prices texted twice daily to your phone, TEXT “Daily” to 844-713-PGMs (7467). You can also call us or email us at [email protected].

Five Criteria for Choosing a Converter Recycling Company to Work With

How can you get the most for your converters with a process you can trust? At United Catalyst Corporation, we believe in the benefits of assay-based selling. Since no two converters are the same, and each converter must go through the same refining process, it makes sense to us that recyclers sell converters based on recovery of the metals. Still the recycler must choose a recycling partner and hold this company accountable to a truthful result and payment. So how does a recycler choose a company to work with for their converter recycling program? Here are five criteria that we think are important when choosing a reputable recycling partner.



A Comparative Count
Does the company that you are working with provide you with a count before processing your converters? Does it include whole units, halves, aftermarket converters, wire/metallic/foil converters, diesel units, diesel particulate filters (DPFs), empty units? Does the whole unit count match the number you counted at your facility before shipping within a reasonable number? Human error being what it is, in our experience, a few units plus or minus is normal for a converter check-in. The important part is that you and the recycling company agrees on the count. Also, you need to agree on how the material will be run. Most recycling companies will let you choose how you want your material combined. Ceramic converters, bead converters, diesel oxidation catalyst (DOCs), and aftermarkets can be processed and refined together from a technical perspective. Diesel particulate filters (DPFs) containing silicon carbide (SiC) should be held out and processed separately to avoid ruining the smelt. Wire/metallic/foil converters can be refined together if you have a large enough quantity to create a refining lot; otherwise, a price is pound is standard for domestic, import, or mixed material. Metallic units that are trimmed vs. untrimmed will have a different percentage of precious metal washcoat or should carry a different price per pound since the steel has no precious metal value.


A Complete Weight Report
Does the company that you are working with provide you with a weight report somewhere on the assay report or final invoice? The most important aspect of weights is making sure all the weight that should be accounted for is. The dust from de-canning and milling is most important since it contains the highest fraction of precious metals. Whether your company adds it back to the bulk material before sampling or samples it separately does not matter, if it is present. Some material loss during processing is normal; one to three percent (1-3%) from inert material such as insulation, pieces of steel from de-canning, moisture, and some evaporation during milling. Weight loss greater than four percent (4%) should be questioned. What if you don’t know the gross weight from de-canning as compared to the net dry weight for settlement? If you cannot determine the weight loss during processing from the compan you are working with, ask for an accounting. A one percent (1%) loss of weight could equate to a ten percent (10%) or more loss of value.


A Mass Balance
Does the company that you are working with balance all the weights that arrive from your facility to all the weights post processing and refining? All the converters were likely packaged in Gaylord boxes on pallets and shrink-wrapped. Once the converters are de-canned, your converter recycling company should be able to account for all the arrival weight as catalyst, dust, packaging materials, and scrap. These items should add back up to your arrival weight within a very small tolerance, say one-half of one percent (0.5%). Once the catalyst and dust are milled and the sample is prepared, the company you are working with should be able to account for this weight within a very small tolerance as well. The weight of the milled catalyst and dust makes up the gross wet weight of your load. This weight minus any scrap discharge or small amount of evaporating during milling gives you the net wet weight of your load. Finally, when the moisture percentage from the sample is determined, it is subtracted from the net wet weight to give you the net dry or settlement weight. To reiterate from the section above, the standard loss during processing is typically one to three percent (1-3%).


A Verified Sample and Assay
Does the company that you are working with collect an uncontaminated and representative sample of your material to be assayed? Apart from dust and weight loss during processing, a properly collected sample is paramount to you getting paid the right amount. The entire batch of de-canned catalyst and dust must be milled and free flowing into the sampling system and each particle must have an equal chance of being sampled. Typically, companies take a five to ten percent (5-10%) sample. This is generally too large of a weight and particle size for the lab and must be sampled representatively once again by taking another five to 10 percent (5-10%); therefore, roughly one percent (1%) ends up in the lab for analysis. The bulk of the milled material then goes on for smelting and refining while the sample is assayed, and the precious metal content is determined for payment.

Does the company that you are working with pay you based on their sample and assay performed at their facility or the one collected and analyzed at the end refiner or with a third-party independent lab? The sample of record is the sample that is collected just before smelting at the smelting or refining company. The analysis can be performed by the smelter / refiner and can be done with or without verification by a third-party. Most important in the process is that all parties have eliminated sampling and analytical bias and allow themselves to be subject to verification. Most important to you is that your recycling company be willing to share the official assay results with you for the basis of your payment.


A Fair Settlement
Does the company you are working with have reasonable and customary recycling costs and fair market pricing? There are many different terms and contracts that can be offered for processing and refining catalytic converters. An expanded set of terms and conditions can include processing, treatment, refining, and financing charges with price market discounts depending on when you sell your metal. A condensed set of terms and conditions can be you being paid a percentage of the ounces contained in the assay (100%) or the contractual ounces paid from the assay for each metal, platinum, palladium, and rhodium (97%, 97%, 90%, for example). This type of contract implies that all the expanded charges are included in the percent that the recycling company keeps, and the rest is returned to you. Here it is important to distinguish the true, verified 100% contained and then determine that the charges and or percentage is customary and reasonable. This pertains to the metal market pricing as well. The earlier you sell the metal and take money before the catalyst becomes physical metal, the higher the discounted price as compared to the spot or physical price. The discount can also be higher based on the availability of each metal and the lease rate attached to it.

If you have questions about this article or any issue pertaining to the recovery of precious metals and materials from automotive recycling, we, at United Catalyst, are here to help you. United Catalyst Corporation is a processor of scrap catalytic converters, oxygen sensors, and EV batteries that offers global refining services. Our recycling solutions are accurate, scientific, and verifiable to get you the most money. United Catalyst is a processor you can trust.

If you find a current or potential customer has suspicious activity, terminate the business relationship as soon as possible. Depending on your business, you or your bank can report the activity. Banking institutions can file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) to report unusual customer activity.

To learn more, or to stay informed on these topics, you can subscribe to our daily e-newsletter or get Platinum Group Metal prices texted twice daily to your phone, TEXT “Daily” to 844-713-PGMs (7467). You can also call us or email us at [email protected].

Converter Recycling: Recessionary Vibes, Palladium Surplus Looming

Are you feeling recessionary vibes? Some of the following signs are pointing to a US recession. A rise in interest rates and inflation. An inversion of the yield curve where the 2-year Treasury bill yielding more than the 10-year. A slowdown in consumer spending. The slowing of manufacturing activity. Unemployment is low, a counter signal, but so is workforce participation. There have been 14 U.S. recessions since the 1930s lasting an average of 14 months with a contraction in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.5% followed by 47 months of GDP expansion of 25%.

What does this mean for precious metals? The most widely followed precious metal would be gold. Gold typically does well six months before and six months after a recession, returning 28% on average, outperforming the S&P 500 by 37%. Investopedia summarizes the macroeconomic factors as follows. The price of gold is generally inversely related to the value of the U.S. dollar
because the metal is dollar denominated. All else being equal, a stronger U.S. dollar tends to keep the price of gold lower and more controlled, while a weaker U.S. dollar is likely to drive the price of gold higher through increasing demand (because more gold can be purchased when the dollar is weaker). As a result, gold is often seen as a hedge against inflation. Inflation is when prices rise, and by the same token, prices rise as the value of the dollar falls. As inflation ratchets up, so does the price of gold. The impact of inflation and the value of the dollar can be seen in the recent price action of gold. As inflation soared in 2022, the price of gold declined throughout much of the year, partly owing to the strength of the dollar against other world currencies. However, after hitting a low of less than $1,630 per ounce in September and October 2022, the price of gold began to recover, with the persistence of inflation and concerns about a recession bolstering prices throughout the fourth quarter and into 2023.

What does this mean for the platinum group metals (PGMs), platinum, palladium, and rhodium, found in scrap catalytic converters? The price of platinum and palladium has fallen in every recession except one. It is not surprising since automotive demand accounts for 40% of platinum, and 80 – 90% of palladium and rhodium. People don’t tend to purchase vehicles during times of economic downturns. Currently global vehicle sales are up 1.6% year over year, but down 5.4% over Q4 2022. Vehicle sales forecast to increase 6% to 86 M, still down over a million units a year, 15% since 2017. Right now, the US auto industry doesn’t have a supply problem, it has a demand problem. Instead of mass-producing vehicles, they are producing vehicles on demand. Auto dealers do not mind since they are selling vehicles at a premium without paying auto makers floor plan financing, further increasing their profitability.

What is the short-term and long-term outlook for each of the three metals contained in catalytic converters? Most analysts that we follow remain bullish on the three metals in the short term but warn that the recycled ounces of palladium are set to more than double from 2.5 million troy ounces to 7 million troy ounces in the next 7 years, the first surplus since Russian stock sales declined in 2013. We could see palladium at $500 – $800 a troy ounce by the 2030s. Platinum is supported in the short and long term by power curtailment in South Africa leading to a backlog of unprocessed metal and lower outturn; investor demand remaining positive; more platinum being used in China heavy duty diesel; and the use of platinum in the hydrogen economy. Palladium under pressure by heavy investor sell of this year; subdued demand; automakers showing little interest in buying at the lower prices indicating that they may have hedged too much earlier or are uncertain about the future of ICE vehicle production; price struggling to maintain $1,500 level; and future surplus. Rhodium appears to be mixed in the shortterm to positive in the long term. Short term, the glass industry has all but foregone rhodium causing investor sell off; rhodium could benefit from some palladium substitution; it remains the metal of choice in controlling NOx emissions; and it may play a small role in the hydrogen economy.

It is hard to know when and if a recession will be declared by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). To be sure, we will be in one by the time it is called one. It is difficult to predict the market spikes and drops. Eight years ago, the average platinum, palladium, and rhodium prices were $1,053, $691, and $919 per troy ounce respectively. The average converter price at that time was $50 a unit. Flash forward to 2021, where the average prices for the year were $1,092, $2,397, and $18,074. The average converter price was $260 a unit. To date in 2023, the average prices are $1,007, $1,557, and $8,878. The average converter price is around $125 – $150 a unit. Prices may not be 5 times what they were in 2015; however, they are still 2-3 times what they were in 2015. It is unlikely that we will see the short-term spike in rhodium that we experienced in 2008 and 2021, thirteen years apart. As recyclers you have a couple strategies to employ. Keep selling converters into the market at the same rate that you dismantled the cars, benefitting from dollar cost averaging year over year. Process the converters you have on hand, sell all or some of the metal or opt to pool the metal and sell the individual metals at a future date. Looking backward at historical prices, and forward with future uncertainty, the current PGM markets are solid. With a reputable and trusted processor, the choice is yours.

To learn more, or to stay informed on these topics, you can subscribe to our daily e-newsletter or get Platinum Group Metal prices texted twice daily to your phone, TEXT “Daily” to
844-713-PGMs (7467). You can also call us or email us at [email protected].

The World of Precious Metals: Q1 and Beyond

This past week over two hundred members of a worldwide organization representing every aspect of the precious metals supply chain, from mining and refining to fabrication, recycling, and investment met in Orlando, Florida. The International Precious Metals Institute promotes excellence through education, research, and networking opportunities that drive innovation and advance sustainable practices. The group met for its winter meetings to discuss topics such as security and anti-money laundering, Platinum Group Metals (PGM) supply and demand, mining, refining, recycling, the prevention of auto catalyst theft, and precious metals sampling and analysis. Here are some key takeaways from the week.

Cyber and socially engineered crimes continue to rise. If you have not been a victim of a customer initiating a new bank account and sending money to the wrong recipient, consider yourself lucky. Most companies now require a verbal confirmation with someone that is known to them to make any changes to banking information. These crimes can be a disaster to a company making it worthwhile to pick up cyber and business continuance insurance.

Knowing your business (KYB), knowing your customer (KYC), and knowing your material (Responsible Sourcing) – knowing who you are transacting with and where your goods are coming from and being sold to is paramount. You do not want the FBI or IRS to pay you an unannounced visit and seize your assets. Nor do you want a claw-back lawsuit for buying from or selling to a company that was not acting ethically and got taken down. This is happening at alarming rates especially with catalytic converter theft in the national spotlight. If you are selling to a less-than-credible outfit and your payment is “untraceable,” beware. Your payment is likely being documented. Therefore, you are being watched.

The committee for the prevention of auto catalyst theft which comprises industry leaders representing the processing, smelting, and refining of precious metals recovered from end-of-life catalytic converters also met during the week. These committee members who contribute their time, expertise, and financial resources to address this significant public concern, hope to offer realistic solutions to combat catalytic converter theft while protecting legitimate recyclers contributing to the global supply of recycled critical minerals.

Leaders convened even as precious metals prices continued to fall like a knife, especially rhodium as one Chinese glassmaker announced a change in the alloy. Even so, most of the precious metal researchers and analysts remained bullish on PGM prices in the short term: Platinum (Pt) range $850 – $1,150 per troy ounce; Palladium (Pd) range $1,350 – $1,950 per troy ounce; and Rhodium (Rh) range $9,000 – $17,000 per troy ounce. Compare that to January 2019 when the metals were at Pt $800, Pd $1,330, and Rh $2,300 per toz., today’s prices are remain strong.

On the supply side, most processors, smelters, and refiners agreed that recycling volumes are off somewhere between 25 and 50 percent at the start of 2023. Recyclers holding material may be due to a desire for a psychological price point that is no longer attainable or a rise in part sales, a rise in the price of steel, or some combination of the three.

Today recycle supplies one-third of the PGM market and is set to grow to nearly two-thirds in the next 15 – 20 years with Pd from palladium-rich gasoline catalyst growing from almost 2.7 Moz. out of a total of 4.6 Moz. to nearly 7 Moz. out of 10 Moz. With fourteen million less cars being produced since COVID and the average life of a vehicle increasing to 20 years (some calling this the “Cuba effect”), combined with a constriction in primary mining supply, we can expect 4 million less ounces of precious metals between last year and this year. This would be good news for the price of PGMs if it weren’t for high inflation, a strong dollar, lackluster demand, and above ground stock. Auto manufacturers appear to be producing cars to fit demand versus mass producing cars and continue to charge a premium for models with high preference. Despite high inflation and recessionary concerns, consumers are still paying above sticker prices for the vehicles they want.

Demand for PGMs is not all doom and gloom. Several factors bode well for the precious complex even if palladium ends up in surplus in the future. Increased emission standards in China, India and Europe represent higher loadings of PGMs in catalytic converters. On the road to electrification, hybrid converters use 10 – 15 percent more PGMs. It appears that the
European internal combustion engine (ICE) ban fails to address material and power constraints as well as consumer preference. A strong case for the hydrogen economy, especially in longhaul commercial vehicles, represents a huge opportunity for platinum-rich fuel cells. Many experts predict that the platinum price will cross over and exceed the palladium price once again as its uses grow and will once again be the long-term winner in the PGM complex.

In summary, recycling plays a crucial role in the recovery of critical minerals, key to the U. S’s economic and military strength, as evidenced by Executive Orders from the last two Presidential Administrations (Executive Order 13953 and Executive Order 14017 respectively). These Orders address the threat to the domestic supply chain from reliance on critical minerals from foreign adversaries and support a “Made in America” Supply Chain to be accomplished through domestic mining and processing of secondary materials.

To learn more, or to stay informed on these topics, you can subscribe to our daily e-newsletter or get Platinum Group Metal prices texted twice daily to your phone, TEXT “Daily” to 844-713-PGMs (7467). You can also call us or email us at [email protected]


I HATE the cats. I hear this all the time. Or I hear, I wish the cats would just go away. Then I hear, I love the money, don’t get me wrong. I just hate dealing with the core guys, the collectors, the processors. It’s all become too much. I don’t even want to go to tradeshows because most of the vendors are converter companies. Converter averages the past 10 years have gone from $50 to $350 to $150. It is a good source of revenue. Commodity sales can be used to buy a lot of inventory. How much do you want for you converters? All of it! How do know you are getting it? Follow the money path. Every time your converters change hands, someone makes money.


Selling by the number or via an app. Sounds good in theory. The amount of precious metals coated on the catalyst can vary due to metal thrifting or midyear changes, just like parts, while the serial or can numbers stay the same. The list price is rarely highest value. Most core buyers or collectors buy this way by showing a price on a price sheet or an app, which is just a new digital price list, with a % margin dialed in. Most money left on the table.

Selling by auction or bidding. Again, this method of selling converters appeals to many of you for several reasons. Who doesn’t love a good deal? When people fight each other to pay us more, we win. At least it feels like we do. Or we may just enjoy the user experience. The group maybe a limited numbers of buyers controlling the market prices; the spread between the buyer and seller may be upwards of 10% going to the auction and then another 10% or more goes to the buyer before he sends in the material for refining – remember the money path. Both collectors and processors use this method with double digit margins normally built in.


Selling on assay. Assay is the only way to get the true value of the converter. Unless a converter is de-canned, milled, sampled, and assayed the true value is not known. But all assays are not created equal. If the sample isn’t representative of all the converters. If the dust is missing. If the moisture is too high. If the parts per million (PPMs) are skimmed. You are missing MONEY. Collectors, Processors, and Smelters offer assay programs. Not all these companies have processing and laboratory capabilities; not all show results that can be validated. Though selling on assay is the best way to get the most money, it can still be a shell game if you do not know how to audit their process and results. Know your yard profile. Get educated. Trust but verify.



Bidding and dismantling tools. Some of you include the price of the converters in the price of the car while others wouldn’t dream of it. If you are putting the price of the converter into your fluff number and would like to know the number of converters per car and the true value of those cats on current markets, we are doing that. This year we finally made public the beta program for the United EcoSystem a revolutionary tool that will help you compete at a higher level: to buy cars better, dismantle, process, and ship converters more effectively and with better inventory management, tracking, To learn more, or to stay informed on these topics, you can subscribe to our daily e-newsletter or get Platinum Group Metal prices texted twice daily to your phone, TEXT “Daily” to 844-713-PGMs (7467). You can also call us or email us at [email protected].



2023 Letter to Executive Leaders

I love the time between Christmas and January. For me, it is a time of renewal. A fresh start. It is also a time of reflection on what went well, what went wrong, and where I failed to execute or make a difference. Mostly, it is a time of planning and looking forward personally and professionally. If you are like me, you are looking to be better and do better in all areas of your life. But also, if you are like me, you fall short time and time again. You start off strong, but the messy middle gets you, and by the end of the year some of those personal and professional goals have fallen by the wayside and you cannot wait for the year to end so you can begin again.

Leading takes personal courage. Running a business is not for the faint of heart. There is a war being waged against you and your company. You are competing for sales. You are competing for employees. Your bottom line is being attacked by inflation and supply disruption. I contend that we are not leaving in peacetime, we are at war. To lead well you need integrity, grit, courage, and a clear and compelling vision that you and your team can execute on and be held accountable to. It also means you need to be decisive, make tough decisions, act, and innovate. When President Truman used the phrase, “The buck stops here,” he meant that he, the executive leader, had to make decisions and accept the ultimate responsibility for those decisions.


What are the tough calls you need to make this year? How does your team look? Do you have the right people working for you or do you need to make some tough calls? Are you giving your team what they need to be successful? Are you giving them direction, support, training, feedback, and does accountability go both ways? Sometimes employees exit. Other times you must let them go. Turnover is not always a bad thing. Having new people with different personalities, skills, and energy can be exciting for both you and your customers, but make sure you are ready to give them what they need, especially what they need from you.


How is your company growing and changing with the times? Are you operating in excellence with a mindset for continuous improvement and innovation? Our organizations need us as executive leaders to be fastidious about these things. Our people crave structure and clear direction. They need standard operating procedures. Our managers must manage to the standards that we have set as a company. And as I said earlier, we all need to hold our teams accountable and be held accountable ourselves.


Our industry is evolving. We need to evolve with it. How are you serving your market? Do you expect to retain your customers with lackluster customer service and poor quality or performance? We simply cannot. We must invest in some tangible and intangible things that will make a difference in the lives of all our stakeholders, including ourselves. You want the quadruple bottom line: to be the employer of choice, the provider of choice, the investment of choice, and the corporate citizen of choice.

At United Catalyst Corporation, our vision is to create a world class organization that improves lives. Our mission is to create recycling solutions that improve the bottom line of the companies that work with us through accurate, reliable, and scientific processes. We must do this safely and in an environmentally compliant way. Every day, I must manage the daily priorities of the company against this vision and mission. Every day, I must ask if we are giving you, the recycler, what you need to be more profitable while sustaining the United Catalyst economy. We are doing that. This year we finally made public the beta program for the United EcoSystem a revolutionary tool that will help you compete at a higher level: to buy cars better, dismantle, process, and ship converters more effectively and with better inventory management, tracking, and higher profits. This is an investment that we have been making behind the scenes for years to give you an advantage in the marketplace. I don’t mind saying that we need you to complete this project. If you are interested in seeing the demo or participating in the completion of the project by becoming a BETA member with early access to the EcoSystem, please reach out to us via the information below for more details.

2023 Leadership training and development recommendations: Anything by John Maxwell, Michael Hyatt, and Ken Blanchard. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, How Successful People Think by Maxwell; Free to Focus, Your Best Year Ever, No Fail Communication by Hyatt, Leading at a Higher Level by Blanchard.

To learn more, or to stay informed on these topics, you can subscribe to our daily e-newsletter or get Platinum Group Metal prices texted twice daily to your phone, TEXT “Daily” to 844-713-PGMs (7467). You can also call us or email us at [email protected].

Converter Recycling: Hold. Fold. Sell.

In the iconic words of The Gambler, “You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, and know when to run.” The words of that song feel very true today with the platinum group metal (PGM) prices coming off the highs of 2021 and 2022 and the average converter price dropping by more than half. Many of you are holding converters. More than normal. More than ever. A dangerous strategy at a time when converter theft is at an all-time high. Over the weekend, one recycler had 10 gaylord boxes of converters stolen. The thieves entered the side of his metal building and were caught on video robbing the facility for over two hours between Saturday night and Sunday morning.


Where are the PGM prices going? If only we knew. In times like these, it’s easier to look back than forward. With a strong dollar, high inflation, recessionary pressure and supply disruptions in Russia and South Africa, a comparison can be drawn between today and the early 2000s. Between the end of 2000 and the beginning of 2002, Russia had a supply disruption and palladium spiked to $1,100 per ounce then dropped by over 60 percent when the production was restored. The Ford Motor Company stockpiled without hedging and lost over a billion dollars. Then in March of 2008, with supply disruptions from South Africa, platinum hit a record-high at the time of over $2,250 per ounce, a spot price more than twice that of gold. It subsequently fell to $774 per ounce in November. Within three years, the platinum price more than doubled to $1,887 per ounce. In 2008, rhodium touched $10,025 an ounce just before the global financial crisis hit, but the metal would drop 90% before the end of that tumultuous year. The price spike would lead to end users thrifting the metal and substituting palladium for rhodium going forward. It would be another 13 years before rhodium would spike again to nearly $30,000 an ounce.








This history lesson reminds me of what I was taught at my first job out of college at Putnam Investments in Boston. Mutual funds are a long-term investment. Think about a three to five to ten-year performance horizon. The same timeframe can be seen with movements in precious metal pricing. Spikes and rebound do not happen overnight. You can study the SFA (Oxford), Bloomberg charts that accompany this article to see the price drivers for each of the platinum group metals. (Updated September 2022) At Putnam, I also learned about dollar cost averaging a strategy to manage price risk when you are buying stocks, bonds, ETFs, and mutual funds. It involves investing the same amount of money in a target security at regular intervals over a certain period, regardless of price, to obtain the average buy price over time. I always think of this when it comes to selling scrap catalytic converters into the market. If you continue to sell converters as you purchase cars, regardless of price, you will obtain the average price for each metal year over year. You do not have to hold or fold. You can sell. And you can sell with a strategy. If you are stockpiling converters, sell the most recent load you have at today’s prices. If you work with a reputable processor, you can process your back log loads (minimum lots size required) and put the metal on account to be sold later. As we have mentioned in other articles, platinum is going to be a very important metal for the hydrogen economy and many analysts believe it may double or quadruple, surpassing palladium again, in the next three to five years. Rhodium is still key to reducing NOx, so as emission standards increase around the world, the use of rhodium will also increase.


To learn more, or to stay informed on these topics, you can subscribe to our daily e-newsletter or get Platinum Group Metal prices texted twice daily to your phone, TEXT “Daily” to 844-713-PGMs (7467). You can also call us or email us at [email protected].