Whether you’re buying metal from us or selling back, we can help you select a metal strategy that best fits your business (subject to our disclaimer), with options including:

  • Spot buy – call or email our trading desk to get instant quotes for immediate delivery and payment.
  • Average – reduce risk in a volatile market by pricing metal over a fixed period.
  • Forward – lock in metal prices for future delivery and payment. The metal price is calculated on the spot price plus the forward interest of the metal.
  • Limit order – target orders for when the market trades through a specific price level.

Our standard form of metal is commercial grade, good delivery sponge or powder. Subject to volume and availability, we can quote for form swaps for delivery of ingot in London or Zurich, or provide other metallic forms such as grain or good-delivery bars. 

We can safely store your metal using our vaulting facilities worldwide. We also offer seamless electronic processing and industry leading handling and logistics expertise, ensuring you can get your pgms to the desired location as efficiently as possible.

Trading glossary


Active delivery month

The quoted delivery month on the most frequently traded futures contract on a futures exchange. Spot prices will be derived from the contract price for the active delivery month.


Lowest price at which a dealer is willing to sell a commodity or security (alternative term to offer).


Test of precious metal purity or fineness.

Assay mark

The stamp placed by an assayer on a precious metal product as a guarantee of its fineness.



Market scenario when the spot price of a commodity is higher than the forward price. In the precious metal markets this is the result of the monetary interest rate being less than the precious metal lease rate.

Base Price

The Johnson Matthey base prices are the company’s quoted prices for our customers of wholesale quantities of platinum group metals set by our trading desks in the USA, Hong Kong and the UK. The price reflects Johnson Matthey’s current view of prevailing market prices and may take into account Johnson Matthey’s view on current market bids and offers. The price is for metal in sponge form with minimum purities of 99.95% for platinum and palladium, and 99.9% for rhodium, iridium and ruthenium. Read our disclaimer for more information.

Bid - Offer/Ask spread

The difference between the price at which a dealer is willing to buy (bid) and sell (offer/ask) a commodity, security or currency. The bid will be the lower of the two prices and the offer price the higher.

Bid Price

The highest price at which a dealer is willing to buy commodities, securities or currency.


Precious metals such as platinum, palladium, gold and silver in bulk form, i.e. in the form of bars, ingots or plate rather than in coin, grain or sponge.

Buying forward

Buying commodities, securities or currency at a specified price for delivery at a future date.


Closing price

The price at the end of the day's trading on a commodity market or stock exchange.


A physical substance traded on a commodity market. Examples of hard commodities include platinum, copper and oil, whereas soft commodities include grain, cotton and rubber.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

The United States Government's regulatory body for US future markets.


Market scenario when the forward price of a commodity is higher than the spot price. In the precious metal markets this is the result of monetary interest rates being greater than precious metal lease rates.


Delivery date

The day in the month that commodities on a futures contract have to be delivered.

Delivery month

The month in which commodities on a futures contract have to be delivered. See Active Delivery Month.



The proportion of precious metal in a product or alloy typically expressed as parts per 1,000.

Forward physical contract

An agreement to buy or sell a physical commodity for delivery on a fixed date in the future with the intent to pay/receive funds. Forward physical contracts are not cash-settled.

Forward price

The fixed price at which a specified amount of a commodity, currency or security is to be delivered on a fixed date in the future.

Futures contract

An agreement to buy or sell a fixed quantity of a specified commodity, currency or security for delivery at a fixed date in the future at a fixed price. Futures contracts are standardised agreements traded on futures exchanges and often are cash-settled without taking physical delivery.



Granules of metal usually derived from melting sponge and pouring the molten metal into water.



Illiquid markets have low levels of trading, with little underlying stock readily available. Buying and selling can cause exaggerated price fluctuations.


A form of metal bar, often a preferred form for delivery, derived from casting into a simple shape for hot working or remelting.

International Precious Metals Institute (IPMI)

IPMI is an international association of producers, refiners, fabricators, scientists, users, financial institutions, merchants, private and public sector groups, and the general precious metals community formed to provide a forum for the exchange of information and technology.


Lease rate

An interest rate charged for borrowing.

Limit order

An order to buy or sell at a price that is better (higher or lower) than the current market.  Limit orders typically specify volume, price level, and have an expiry date or run until cancelled/amended by the buyer or seller. There is no guarantee that a limit order will be executed – it all depends on price movement.


Liquid markets have high levels of trading, with underlying stock readily available and buying and selling causing minimal price fluctuations.

Location swap

The dealer practice of exchanging a quantity of metal in one location for an equal quantity of metal in an alternative location held by another dealer. Location swaps help to reduce shipping costs and can reduce manufacturing lead times.

London auction price

Sometimes referred to as the 'auction'. the London Metal Exchange (LME) administers the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) platinum and palladium price auctions. These prices are set twice daily; the first at 09:45 (am price) and the second at 14:00 (pm price) London time. These prices are published benchmarks. The auction price is a bid price for good delivery ingot or plate, located in vaults in London or Switzerland. Hence it is the price which auction members would be prepared to pay for platinum and palladium in the form of plate or ingot deposited in a London or Swiss vault. Customers can instruct dealers to buy or sell metal at the auction price but they will incur charges for brokerage, conversion and transportation. Customers do not have the benefit of knowing what the price is before they buy or sell.

Long liquidation

Reducing the amount of a commodity, security or contracts held.

Long position
  1. Position on a futures exchange where a dealer is a net holder of contracts, i.e. contracts bought outweighs contracts sold.
  2. The position of owning a commodity or security.


Market order

An order to buy or sell at the current price level. Market orders are guaranteed, but often the price is unknown at time of issue.


New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX)

NYMEX is the largest physical commodity exchange in the world. Futures contracts are traded on the Exchange in an anonymous, open, and competitive auction, based on open outcry. The exchange acts as the counterparty on every trade, clearing (matching) orders amongst the members. The Exchange's platinum contract is the longest continuously traded precious metals contract in the world's marketplace, first traded in 1956.


Offer price

Lowest price at which a dealer is willing to sell a commodity or security (alternative term to ask).

Open interest

The number of open or outstanding contracts on a futures exchange for which the holders are still obligated to the futures exchange concerned. No offsetting sale or purchase has yet been made against it. Open interest is used as an indicator of the level of commercial activity in a particular futures contract.

Open position

A long or short trading position that is not yet closed. In either case the dealer remains vulnerable to fluctuations until the position is closed.



Bullion form of metal.

Platinum Group Metals (PGM)

The six metallic elements platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium.

Precious metal lease rate

An interest rate charged for borrowing precious metal.

Precious metals

The six platinum group metals, plus gold and silver.



A considerable rise in the value of a commodity, security or market after a decline.


Short covering

The act of buying back a commodity, security or opposing futures contract to close out a short position.

Short position

Position resulting from a short selling strategy.

Short selling
  1. A strategy in which a speculator sells a commodity or security that he or she does not own to profit from a falling market. The speculator will borrow the commodity or security from a third party and then immediately sell on to the buyer. At a later date, the speculator must make good on the loan by buying back the commodity or security from the market to close the position. If the value of the commodity or security has fallen during this period the speculator's profit will be the difference between his original sale price and the buyback price (minus interest charges and fees). However, if the market moves against the speculator there is the potential for limitless losses.
  2. Selling a futures contract.

A powdered form of a PGM. Commonly the form required for manufacture of many PGM-based chemicals and catalysts.

Spot market

A market in which commodities are bought and sold for cash and immediate delivery.

Spot month

The nearest delivery month on a futures contract.

Spot price

The delivery price of a commodity being traded on a spot market.

Spot purchasing

Purchasing a commodity in the spot market for immediate payment and delivery (typically two working days).


The difference between the current bid and offer (ask) prices for a commodity or security.

Square position

A trading condition in which a dealer has neither a long position nor a short position.


Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM)

The Japanese futures exchange, which has offered platinum contracts since 1984 and palladium contracts since 1992. Unlike NYMEX, trading of these contracts is conducted electronically and not by open outcry. TOCOM trading also differs in that the exchange does not act as the counterparty for all members through the clearing process.

Trading volume
  1. The total number of contracts traded in a set period of time on a futures exchange.
  2. The amount of a physical commodity, security or currency traded in a particular market or during a set period of time.
Troy ounce

The traditional unit of weight for precious metals. One troy ounce = 31.1034807grams; 32.150746568 troy oz = 1 kilogram.


Value date

The date on which a commodity is delivered to an account and usually when payment is due (unless other payment date arrangements are made between the relevant parties).