The best bet in the base metals rally

The prices of key industrial metals have been enjoying a spectacular rally.

The prices of key industrial metals have been enjoying a “spectacular rally”, says Buttonwood in The Economist. Copper has jumped by about 25% since the start of April, while iron ore has delivered 12% gains for the year to date.

Commodity bulls have China to thank for this rapid recovery, says Buttonwood. Steel blast furnaces were running at 92% capacity in the first week of June, which is above normal levels. For all the talk of the Middle Kingdom’s shift to a consumer economy, the authorities seem happy to use the old method of stoking a construction boom when a round of stimulus is needed. 

Iron ore has emerged in recent years as the world’s “second most important commodity behind oil”, say Julien Hall And Fiona Boal in the Financial Times. The S&P GSCI Iron Ore index has more than tripled over the last seven years while many other metals have stalled. Now more liquid futures markets are making the steel ingredient easier than ever to trade. That makes iron ore an attractive “proxy” investment for those wishing to bet on the Chinese manufacturing sector without buying in directly. The current metals rally is also being driven by supply constraints, says Myra Saefong in Barron’s. Mine closures in pandemic-hit Latin America mean less iron ore and copper reaching global markets. Yet copper prices may struggle now amid a highly uncertain few months ahead for the global economy, says Johann Wiebe of Refinitiv. 

The best bet may well be silver, says Taki Tsaklanos of InvestingHaven.com. As both an industrial and a precious metal it stands to gain even if another virus wave triggers renewed lockdowns. That is likely to mean even more emergency money printing, which is a boon for precious metals. Currently trading around $17.80/oz, he expects silver to approach $21/oz before the end of the year. 

Recommended

Platinum has lost its shine – but the green energy revolution could change all that
Silver and other precious metals

Platinum has lost its shine – but the green energy revolution could change all that

Platinum has had a terrible few years – right now, it is at the same price as it was in 2003. But that could soon change. Dominic Frisby puts the case…
7 Oct 2020
The rising dollar is proving bad news for most other assets – will it last?
Investment strategy

The rising dollar is proving bad news for most other assets – will it last?

Precious metals, stocks and pretty much every other asset has taken a tumble as the US dollar strengthens. Dominic Frisby looks at how long this trend…
23 Sep 2020
China adds shine to base metals
Industrial metals

China adds shine to base metals

Metals prices have rallied hard after China's government unveiling plans for new infrastructure building, including railways, power lines and electric…
28 Aug 2020
CCI: this indicator can help you decide when to buy and sell silver
Sponsored

CCI: this indicator can help you decide when to buy and sell silver

CCI - the “commodity channel index” – is a technical indicator that can help traders spot entry and exit points. Dominic Frisby runs it over the silve…
24 Aug 2020

Most Popular

The Bank of England should create a "Bitpound" digital currency and take the world by storm
Bitcoin

The Bank of England should create a "Bitpound" digital currency and take the world by storm

The Bank of England could win the race to create a respectable digital currency if it moves quickly, says Matthew Lynn.
18 Oct 2020
Negative interest rates and the end of free bank accounts
Bank accounts

Negative interest rates and the end of free bank accounts

Negative interest rates are likely to mean the introduction of fees for current accounts and other banking products. But that might make the UK bankin…
19 Oct 2020
What would negative interest rates mean for your money?
UK Economy

What would negative interest rates mean for your money?

There has been much talk of the Bank of England introducing negative interest rates. John Stepek explains why they might do that, and what it would me…
15 Oct 2020