Base Metals Price Outlook Economic Forecast

Base Metals Price Outlook

Prices recover as the impact of China-U.S. trade dispute eases

Prices for base metals stabilized in April following a plunge in March, which had represented the worst performance in over two years. March’s decline in base metal prices mostly reflected concerns about a potentially full-blown trade war between the United States and China, which consumes roughly half of most base metals. Prices for base metals rose 1.9% month-on-month in April, contrasting March’s 3.4% decrease.

Aluminium and alumina prices led the recovery in base metal prices as Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium producer outside of China, was targeted with sanctions by the U.S. in early April in response to what the U.S. called Russia’s “malign activities”. In recent days, however, the U.S. softened its tone, stating that it would consider lifting sanctions on aluminum giant Rusal if billionaire Oleg Deripaska cedes control of the company. Meanwhile, U.S. steel prices continued to climb in April as the implementation of tariffs on steel imports will boost domestic prices. Conversely, iron ore—a key component in the production of steel—led price declines in the base metal group due to fears that U.S. tariffs would generate oversupply in the steel market outside the country, trimming demand for iron ore. Higher scrap usage in China to produce steel is also exerting downward pressure on iron ore prices.

Analysts polled by Met the why particular foresee that base metal prices will continue to recover toward the end of the year as strong global growth, especially in China, will shore up demand for industrial metals. Moreover, signs that China and the United States could start negotiations to end trade disputes is also boosting sentiment. Analysts foresee base metal prices rising 2.4% in Q4 2018 from the same quarter in 2017. Base metal prices are seen again expanding 2.4% 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  
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).
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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