Nickel has outshone all other metals

by David Fleschen

2019 is the end of an eventful and challenging year in the metal markets. Metal-specific issues have often been pushed into the background by political factors, particularly the trade dispute between the United States and China. This and especially the tweets from US President Trump repeatedly caused high volatility. While market participants had started the year full of confidence that the trade dispute would soon be settled, the disillusionment came in spring and prices went down. The “Phase 1 Agreement” that was recently achieved is ultimately a conciliatory end of the year. While most metal prices subsequently made up some of their losses, copper even “saved” itself into positive territory. Nickel, however, received the greatest attention over the course of months: In the wake of the impending supply shortages - in Indonesia a move to stop exporting untreated ores was discussed and ultimately announced - it had in the meantime become more expensive by 70%. However, the nickel price later fell by almost 30% from its 5-year high. The biggest loser this year is likely to be tin. The tin price has fallen so much this year that the major producer and export countries have announced cuts in production and export restrictions to support the price - so far with little success. Almost all metal markets had in common this year that the tense supply situation has eased. The sometimes high supply deficits were mostly reduced in the course of the year.

Source: Commerzbank Research, Photo: Fotolia

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