Base Metals Price Outlook Economic Forecast

Base Metals Price Outlook

Signs of strong global economic growth for 2018 boosts prices at the start of the year

Prices for base metals rebounded in January to a 5.1% month-on-month expansion (December: -0.4% mom) as economic indicators for China, the main consumer of base metals, signaled that the economy is still growing at a healthy pace. Economic growth remains buoyant in other key economies such as the Euro area and the United States, while dynamics in emerging-market countries are also improving. Moreover, mining investment remains relatively low, suggesting that supply will be contained in the mid- and long-term.

Nickel prices led the surge in base metal prices due to robust demand from China’s stainless-steel industry and stronger demand from the Asian giant as stricter environmental regulations decreased capacity in the country. The long rally in zinc prices continued in January on the back of strong demand and constrained supply, while tin prices were underpinned by inventory draws. Alumina recorded the only month-on-month drop in prices as China reduced imports in recent months on low domestic prices.

Base metal prices are expected to decrease slightly by the end of this year, following two years of strong gains, on slower growth in China. Analysts see base metal prices falling 0.4% in Q4 2018 from the same quarter in 2017. Base metal prices should pick up again in 2019 following this year’s consolidation, rising 3.1% year-on-year in Q4 2019

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Base Metals Historical Price Data

2012  2013  2014  2015  2016  
Aluminium2020.88  1845.86  1867.48  1663.69  1604.6  
Aluminium Alloy1935.97  1797.84  1950.43  1720.53  1553.26  
Alumina433.69  426.39  421.3  387.42  320.71  
Copper7954.23  7330.44  6863.26  5508.57  4871.3  
Nickel17522.38  15022.53  16897.92  11834.73  9596.5  
Lead2062.45  2139.23  2095  1787.3  1866.99  
Zinc1948.16  1911.09  2162.01  1929.03  2092.83  
Tin21199.76  22272.66  21878.75  16053.44  17960.96  
Iron Ore131.83  136.58  97.34  55.82  58.61  
Steel (USA)656.57  630.49  657.79  462.25  517.96  
Steel (Europe)659.47  614.28  568.37  420.18  439.66  

Note:
Aluminium prices in USD per metric ton (mt).
Aluminium Alloy prices in USD per metric ton (mt).
Alumina prices in USD per metric ton (mt).
Copper prices in USD per metric ton (mt).
Nickel prices in USD per metric ton (mt).
Lead prices in USD per metric ton (mt).
Zinc prices in USD per metric ton (mt).
Tin prices in USD per metric ton (mt).
Iron ore prices in USD per metric ton (mt).
Steel (USA) prices in USD per metric ton (mt).
Steel (Europe) prices in USD per metric ton (mt).
All prices are average of period (aop).

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Price forecasts and historical data for Energy, Metals and Agricultural Commodities

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