Base Metals Price Outlook Economic Forecast

Base Metals Price Outlook

July’s short-lived increase proved to be temporary; base metal prices down again in August 

Base metal prices fell 3.1% on a monthly basis in August, contrasting a 1.2% increase in July.

August’s downturn was mostly driven by a sharp drop in prices for iron ore, tin and zinc, in that order. Iron ore prices have been on a downward trend since early August on demand concerns from China, low steel prices and increased shipments from Brazil. Overall, low demand from China, which consumes roughly half of all base metals, had been weighing on most base metal prices. The main exception to this trend is nickel, which saw another month of double-digit growth in August, chiefly propelled by news that Indonesia would ban nickel exports in January 2020 as the country seeks to climb up the value chain. This move was originally planned for 2022.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists see base metal prices falling 5.4% year-on-year in Q4 2019 (previously projected: -3.2% year-on-year), reflecting pessimism over growth dynamics in China and the U.S. as the possibility of a swift resolution to the trade spat between the two superpowers seems increasingly unlikely. Our panelists expect prices to recover next year, however, and see them increasing 3.5% in Q4 2020 in annual terms.

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Base Metals Historical Price Data

2013  2014  2015  2016  2017  
Aluminium1845.86  1867.48  1663.69  1604.6  1968.4  
Alumina406.26  410.9  377.2  310.14  348.34292307692  
Copper7330.44  6863.26  5508.57  4871.3  6171.78  
Nickel15022.53  16897.92  11835.3  9596.5  10414.13  
Lead2139.23  2095  1787.3  1866.99  2313.17  
Zinc1910.09  2162.01  1929.03  2092.83  2890.89  
Tin22272.66  21878.75  16053.44  17960.96  20068.1  
Iron Ore136.58  97.34  55.82  58.61  71.77  
Steel (USA)630.41  653.14  461.14  519.95  619.92  
Steel (Europe)616.31417624521  573.91954022989  422.10344827586  455.12260536398  601.75  

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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