Commodities: Rhodium

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The Independent Online
PRICES for rhodium, a precious metal in the platinum family, plunged to their lowest levels since 1991 last week.

They were undermined mainly by news that Nissan and Toyota, the recession-hit Japanese car makers, plan to meet their current rhodium needs from existing stockpiles, and by concerns that Russia, a producer, is seeking alternative markets.

Rhodium closed at about dollars 1,500 an ounce on Friday in London, down dollars 225 from just a week ago. On Thursday it fell dollars 150.

The metal is heavily dependent on demand from the car industry, where it is used in pollution-reducing catalytic converters.