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For all the excitement around Tesla Motors and the growth prospects of electric cars, the best performing commodity of 2017 has its fortunes tied to the internal combustion engine. Palladium, a metal used to curb harmful fumes produced by gasoline vehicles, has risen by almost a third this year, outpacing all other metals and raw materials in the Bloomberg Commodity Index. The silvery white material, produced mainly from mines in South Africa and Russia, is benefiting from a shift in sentiment and bets that consumers will switch from diesel to gasoline cars because of concerns over emissions. Speculative wagers on palladium have almost tripled in the past six months as investors have piled into the commodity, pushing it close to price parity with sister metal platinum for the first time in almost two decades.

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