Monthly Metal Review
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
In times of macroeconomic uncertainties in Western industrialized countries, Reuters con-ducted a survey among several metals analysts asking about their market opinion for the up-coming year. The "consensus" view is that all six LME metals will most likely have a higher annual average price in 2013 and 2014 compared to last year. Tin is forecast to be the breakout star with 13 percent expected price growth. Copper will lag at projected 2 percent.
After months of negotiations, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the placement of physical copper stored in warehouses for the backing of exchange-traded funds (ETF). Several industry players argue that the ETFs will have a negative effect by removing significant quantities of copper from the market. The creation of shortages is very likely to drive prices up and increase the volatility of the metal, they say.
Estimates show that about 200,000 tons of copper could be used for the backing of these newly-created funds. LME stocks are now standing at 320,000 tons. The appetite from investors around the world for these financial products will be closely watched by all actors in the physical copper market during the upcoming months.
India, the world's largest gold importer, has begun using a "carrot and stick" policy in an effort to reduce the country's huge gold imports. The country imports between 750-1,000 tonnes/year of the most precious of metals, which has contributed to a growing national account deficit. "The stick" is an import duty on gold and plati-num bars, now 6%, up from 4%. The 'carrots' involve various measures designed to make more use of the gold already in India, estimated between 18-25,000 tons.
The Bank of Japan agreed to double its infla-tion target to 2 percent and ease monetary policy. The government approved a $116-billion stimulus that includes infrastructure spending and in-vestment incentives.
China manufacturing rose in December for a third month. The official purchasing managers' index (PMI) was 50.6, holding steady from No-vember. Numbers above 50 indicate expansion. China reported GDP up in 2012 by 7.8 percent, under 2011's 9.3 growth.
Claims for U.S. jobless benefits dropped to a five-year low in late January. The U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs in December whilst unem-ployment remained at 7.8 percent. Strife in Washington remains a danger to economic well-being in the States. While the market anticipated a 1% economic growth in the U.S. for the last quarter of 2012, the country’s Gross Domestic Product actually dropped by 0.1% over that pe-riod. It is the first decline in the American GDP since 2009.