ETF Securities is gearing up to launch a highly anticipated exchange traded fund (ETF) physically backed by palladium, which is one of the platinum group metals.

U.S. investors have long awaited a physically-backed palladium funds, and their wishes may finally be coming true.

Don Dion for The Street explains that ETF Securities is planning to launch the ETFS Palladium Trust (NYSEArca: PALL) will be the first U.S. listed fund that holds the physical metal. (Other ways to play palladium before the launch).

The timing for the launch may not be better. China and India are both working to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. This could directly impact the market for platinum, which is used heavily in catalytic converters, which controls such emissions. More than half of all platinum is used in catalytic converters.

Prices for platinum are now topping $1,300, making it more expensive than gold, reports DaveCarpenter for Associated Press.

Some of the other uses of palladium and platinum include:

  • Dentistry: Used to make dental crowns and bridges; used for the treatment of cancer in radioactive form.
  • Oil Refining: Used in various stages of oil refining, certain converters are made with palladium.
  • Electronics: Used for its chemical stability and electrical conductivity; a reliable alternative to gold in plating. (Can platinum be a substitute for silver or gold in a portfolio?)
  • Jewelry: Platinum is a popular metal used in engagement rings and other fine jewelry.

For more stories about precious metals, visit our precious metals category.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.