Monthly Metal Review

Overview

In many ways, 2011 ended much like it began, with uncertainty. December 2011 was marked by more global economic uncertainty, with euro zone turmoil, US malaise, fear of a Chinese construction bubble and turmoil in producer nations all helping to baffle miners and smel-ters.

Late December, the European Central Bank (ECB) moved some $640 billion into the European banking system in an aggressive, if perhaps delayed, push to re-lieve the continent's economy crushing credit squeeze. The relief came in the form of three-year, 1 percent loans to commercial banks and could indirectly support debtor nations, especially Spain and Italy, assuming banks use some of the funding to buy their shorter-term, higher-yield government bonds. The ECB also loosened collateral requirements to help smaller banks. More than 500 applied for almost 490 billion euros in loans.

Economic news from the United States remains mixed, but tinged with hope. The U.S. economy remains anemic with GDP growth expected to be less than 2 percent for all of 2011. A consensus survey of economic forecasts puts U.S. growth at 2.4 percent for 2012, but December marked the fifth consecutive month that the U.S. economy has generated at least 100,000 new jobs, a record not seen since 2006. The United States' demand for primary metals shipments were up 29.8 percent in 2011, with new orders up 26.1 percent. At the same time, metals inventories fell slightly. New orders were up 7.9 percent and year-to-date shipping values grew 6 percent.

China's metals-hungry economy has been mired since July, and some analysts say it may be reaching a tipping point. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman compared China today to Japan at the end of the 1980s and the United States in 2007. Krugman argues that Chi-na, with relatively weak domestic consumer demand, pinned growth on a real-estate bubble and "a shadowy, unregulated finance system." Property construction was at least 13 percent of GDP last year. Other economists say the bubble is bursting and fear a 25 percent sector price drop, with another 25 percent later. The world's fastest growing major economy the largest importer of iron ore and copper.

Despite a growing economy and high oil prices, inves-tors in Russia face political uncertainty. Buoyed after 4 December parliamentary elections, equities took a beat-ing as protesters decried results that gave Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party a small major-ity win. Demonstrations continue though Putin is widely expected to be elected president in March. The Micex dropped 11 percent 12 December, double the decline for other emerging markets. Capital flight is a problem; a Russian government estimate said $70 billion will leave this year, some in loans called in by European banks.

A Peruvian government agreement with local authori-ties to hire international consultants to review environ-mental impacts of the Minas Conga project should restart work in early 2012. A late December deal with Cajamarca region authorities calls for re-examining Conga's $4.8 billion environmental permit, which was granted in 2010. Minera Yanacocha SRL, 51 percent owned by Denver based Newmont Mining Corp, suspended work during November local protests. Newmont's chief SA executive welcomed the deal. Minas Conga has estimated copper and gold reserves of $15 billion, is to open in 2014 and could yield 680,000 oz. yearly.

2012 is set to bring new metals-related tax laws. Ghana will place a 10 percent windfall tax on mining firms. That's in addition to a 10 percent hike in Ghana's corpo-rate rate to 35 percent. Poland is considering a copper tax recalculating monthly based on market price. Most notably, Indonesia plans to introduce 2012 export taxes on base metals as it works for a 2014 total ban on unpro-cessed exports.

Daily Prices

January 2012

Copper
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 8043.45
31-01-2012 8485.5
30-01-2012 8399
27-01-2012 8610
26-01-2012 8560
25-01-2012 8271
24-01-2012 8267
23-01-2012 8333
20-01-2012 8230.5
19-01-2012 8350.5
18-01-2012 8156
17-01-2012 8185
16-01-2012 8021
13-01-2012 7965.5
12-01-2012 7946
11-01-2012 7689.5
10-01-2012 7641
09-01-2012 7503
06-01-2012 7515
05-01-2012 7471
04-01-2012 7652
03-01-2012 7661
Silver
Date(Fix.) ($/OZ)
Average 30.77
31-01-2012 33.6
30-01-2012 33.18
27-01-2012 33.48
26-01-2012 33.35
25-01-2012 31.67
24-01-2012 31.95
23-01-2012 32.45
20-01-2012 30.36
19-01-2012 30.79
18-01-2012 30.15
17-01-2012 30.41
16-01-2012 29.9
13-01-2012 29.64
12-01-2012 30.58
11-01-2012 29.81
10-01-2012 29.69
09-01-2012 28.85
06-01-2012 29.4
05-01-2012 28.92
04-01-2012 29.18
03-01-2012 28.78
PM MEAN AM Gold
Date(Fix.) ($/OZ)
Average 1656.10
31-01-2012 1738
30-01-2012 1720.5
27-01-2012 1722
26-01-2012 1713
25-01-2012 1659
24-01-2012 1669
23-01-2012 1675
20-01-2012 1646
19-01-2012 1664
18-01-2012 1657
17-01-2012 1662
16-01-2012 1643.5
13-01-2012 1642
12-01-2012 1652.5
11-01-2012 1641
10-01-2012 1627
09-01-2012 1618
06-01-2012 1621
05-01-2012 1614.5
04-01-2012 1603
03-01-2012 1590
Date(Fix.) ($/OZ)
Average 1656.11
31-01-2012 1741
30-01-2012 1724.75
27-01-2012 1724
26-01-2012 1720
25-01-2012 1654.5
24-01-2012 1667.25
23-01-2012 1675.25
20-01-2012 1649.5
19-01-2012 1659.5
18-01-2012 1652
17-01-2012 1659
16-01-2012 1642.25
13-01-2012 1638.75
12-01-2012 1656.75
11-01-2012 1637.75
10-01-2012 1632
09-01-2012 1616.5
06-01-2012 1618.75
05-01-2012 1606.75
04-01-2012 1608
03-01-2012 1594
Date(Fix.) ($/OZ)
Average 1656.12
31-01-2012 1744
30-01-2012 1729
27-01-2012 1726
26-01-2012 1727
25-01-2012 1650
24-01-2012 1665.5
23-01-2012 1675.5
20-01-2012 1653
19-01-2012 1655
18-01-2012 1647
17-01-2012 1656
16-01-2012 1641
13-01-2012 1635.5
12-01-2012 1661
11-01-2012 1634.5
10-01-2012 1637
09-01-2012 1615
06-01-2012 1616.5
05-01-2012 1599
04-01-2012 1613
03-01-2012 1598
Lead
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 2094.07
31-01-2012 2251
30-01-2012 2238
27-01-2012 2288
26-01-2012 2277
25-01-2012 2196
24-01-2012 2216
23-01-2012 2178
20-01-2012 2130.5
19-01-2012 2131.5
18-01-2012 2092
17-01-2012 2046
16-01-2012 1989
13-01-2012 2004
12-01-2012 2000
11-01-2012 1968.5
10-01-2012 1999
09-01-2012 1942.5
06-01-2012 1975.5
05-01-2012 2015.5
04-01-2012 2043
03-01-2012 1994.5
Zinc
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 1980.69
31-01-2012 2126
30-01-2012 2095.5
27-01-2012 2178.5
26-01-2012 2178.5
25-01-2012 2095.5
24-01-2012 2052.5
23-01-2012 2015.5
20-01-2012 1995.5
19-01-2012 2011.5
18-01-2012 1997.5
17-01-2012 2000
16-01-2012 1948
13-01-2012 1943
12-01-2012 1945
11-01-2012 1910
10-01-2012 1912.5
09-01-2012 1855
06-01-2012 1827.5
05-01-2012 1835.5
04-01-2012 1844.5
03-01-2012 1827
Tin
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 21461.19
31-01-2012 24290
30-01-2012 24050
27-01-2012 24310
26-01-2012 23330
25-01-2012 22005
24-01-2012 21860
23-01-2012 21935
20-01-2012 21850
19-01-2012 22000
18-01-2012 21600
17-01-2012 21600
16-01-2012 20900
13-01-2012 21090
12-01-2012 21100
11-01-2012 20300
10-01-2012 20075
09-01-2012 20100
06-01-2012 19750
05-01-2012 19415
04-01-2012 19675
03-01-2012 19450
Nickel
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 19821.90
31-01-2012 21150
30-01-2012 21370
27-01-2012 21670
26-01-2012 21350
25-01-2012 20510
24-01-2012 20295
23-01-2012 20620
20-01-2012 20155
19-01-2012 19680
18-01-2012 19460
17-01-2012 19480
16-01-2012 19270
13-01-2012 19630
12-01-2012 19575
11-01-2012 19360
10-01-2012 19425
09-01-2012 18855
06-01-2012 18680
05-01-2012 18590
04-01-2012 18705
03-01-2012 18430
Cobalt
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 33230.48
31-01-2012 33500
30-01-2012 33500
27-01-2012 34000
26-01-2012 33800
25-01-2012 33500
24-01-2012 33500
23-01-2012 33500
20-01-2012 33700
19-01-2012 34500
18-01-2012 34000
17-01-2012 34000
16-01-2012 33990
13-01-2012 34000
12-01-2012 33000
11-01-2012 32500
10-01-2012 33000
09-01-2012 32300
06-01-2012 32700
05-01-2012 32500
04-01-2012 32000
03-01-2012 30350