Base Metals Price Outlook Economic Forecast

Base Metals Price Outlook

Prices continue to decline in January  

Base metal prices fell for the third consecutive month in January, with more than half of the commodities surveyed logging declines in prices. That said, base metals dropped only 0.1% on a monthly basis in January, which was less than the 1.7% drop in December.

Overall, base metals prices had been negatively affected by downbeat economic data from China, the world’s biggest consumer of most base metals. Aluminum prices fell significantly in January due to concerns about a supply glut. Moreover, the U.S. Treasury decision on 27 January to lift sanctions on Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer outside China, threatens to further exacerbate downward pressure on prices going forward. The adjustment in the U.S. steel prices observed throughout most of the second half of 2018 continued in January. However, they are still considerably above the levels from a year ago. On the flip side, iron ore prices soared by the end of January when an inactive dam owned by Vale, the world’s largest producer of the commodity, collapsed and forced the company to halt operations at some of its biggest mines in Brazil.

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Base Metals Historical Price Data

2012  2013  2014  2015  2016  
Aluminium2020.88  1845.86  1867.48  1663.69  1604.6  
Alumina472  116.26  411.9  377.2  311.14  
Copper7954.23  7330.44  6863.26  5508.57  4871.3  
Nickel17522.38  15022.53  16897.92  11835.3  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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