Base Metals Price Outlook Economic Forecast

Base Metals Price Outlook

Outlook positive on improving sentiment and fundamentals

The outlook for most base metals also remains positive as the optimism seen at the end of 2016 will persist through most of 2017. Following a strong rebound in Q4 2016, prices for industrial metals are expected to continue rising strongly during the first half of this year and to moderate toward the end of the year. Analysts expect base metal prices to increase just 2.1% annually in Q4 2017, supported mainly by higher prices for copper, lead, nickel and zinc, which will compensate for subdued prices of aluminium and declining prices of iron ore and tin. Meanwhile, U.S. steel prices are projected to rise strongly in Q4, while steel prices in the European market are expected to drop.

Optimism in the base metal complex is the result of a tightening in most markets, especially those facing imminent resource constraints. The rebalancing reflects slowing investment, mine closures, environment constraints and policy developments, particularly in China, Indonesia and the Philippines. The largest gains are expected in zinc and lead due to mine supply constraints as a result of permanent and discretionary closures. Important gains are also expected for copper, nickel and tin.

However, China’s transition to a consumption-led economy from one based on investment and exports, together with its industrial reform and environmental concerns, is likely to slow demand for metals and keep prices more sluggish toward the end of this year. Upside risks to prices include stronger global demand, a slow ramping up of new capacity and global environmental constraints that could limit supply.

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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  1910.09  2162.01  1929.03  2092.83  
Tin21099.76  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).
Alluminum 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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