Base Metals Price Outlook Economic Forecast

Base Metals Price Outlook

Worries over health of global economy weigh on prices

Base metal prices fell 1.7% in December on a monthly basis, coming after November’s 2.5% price decline.

The decline came amid signs of easing global growth. In China—the largest consumer of base metals—the manufacturing PMI declined again in December and dipped below the 50-threshold for the first time in over two years, while the Eurozone’s composite PMI fell to a multi-year low in December. Copper, iron ore, nickel and U.S. steel saw particularly marked price declines in December compared to November.

Our panel of analysts see base metal prices rising 7.6% year-on-year in Q4 2019 (previous edition: +6.2% yoy), on continued—albeit cooling—economic growth as well as a low base from last year. The evolution of the U.S.-China trade spat, which has eased in recent weeks as both sides engage in negotiations, will be a key price risk. Analysts will also be keeping a close eye on the deceleration in the Chinese economy, which will depend to a large extent on the aforementioned trade dispute and the degree of government support. FocusEconomics panelists expect base metal prices to increase 4.4% year-on-year in Q4 2020.

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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  11835.3  9596.5  
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  522.94636015326  
Steel (Europe)659.47  614.28  568.37  420.18  455.2647684751  

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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