Base Metals Price Outlook Economic Forecast

Base Metals Price Outlook

Base metal prices recover in February

Base metal prices increased for the first time in four months in February, rising 7.7% on a monthly basis. This contrasted January’s 0.1% drop and marked the strongest result since August 2017.

While nearly all commodities surveyed logged increases in prices in February, iron ore and nickel led the pack. Iron ore prices soared in the first two weeks of February, reaching a nearly two-year high on 11 February. The surge reflected concerns about supply disruptions in seaborne markets following the collapse of a mine in Brazil and less strict environmental regulations in China. Nickel prices, in turn, are soaring amid expectations of a fourth consecutive year of supply deficits due to robust demand from stainless steel mills in China. Overall, most base metal prices received a boost from optimism over a potential trade deal between China and the United States.

Our panel of analysts see base metal prices rising 5.9% year-on-year in Q4 2019 (previous edition: +6.2% yoy). Although the expansion mostly reflects a base effect from Q4 2018, it also reflects the expected impact of policy easing in China and an early resolution of the trade spat between China and the United States. FocusEconomics panelists expect base metal prices to increase 4.0% 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  
Alumina472  406.26  410.9  377.2  310.14  
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  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  

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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