Copper and Iron Ore Prices Reach New Highs

By Steve Fiscor, Editor-in-Chief
While gold and silver cooled their heels, dropping 7.6% and 11.2% respectively after record price runs at the end of 2010, iron ore and copper surged to record levels. At the end of January, copper was trading at $187 per dry metric ton (mt) and copper was selling for $4.31/lb, a price increase of 11.3% and 8.1% respectively since the beginning of December.

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Fundamentals for Copper Look Good

The spot LME copper price is quickly approaching $4/lb. During the last year copper prices are up about 34% and a little less than a third of the gain (10%) occurred during the past month. Copper prices reached these levels during June 2008 before giving way to the global economic crisis. Today, however, the gains look sustainable for the near term.

The International Copper Study Group (ICSG) believes the copper market could move from a small surplus in 2010 to a deficit situation of -435 kt in 2011. The forecast is based on surging Chinese demand and tight supplies. Copper prices are expected to remain strong, at current levels or better, for the next several years.
The ICSG’s Statistical Committee met during September in Antofagasta, Chile. Government delegates and industry advisers from most of the world’s leading copper producing and consuming countries discussed key issues affecting the global copper market.

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Tin Prices Rally on La Niña Rains

Last month was a good month for both precious and nonferrous base metals prices. Gold finally eclipsed the much anticipated $1,300/oz level and nearly reached $1,350/oz in early October. Silver prices climbed $3.84/oz to $23.29/oz, a 19.8% gain. Platinum prices climbed 11% (or $178/oz) to $1,705/oz. As good as this news is, base metals posted some equally good numbers.

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Autumn Rally for Gold Begins Early

Increased uncertainty about the economic recovery pushed gold prices closer to record highs recently. At the end of August, Comex gold for September delivery closed at $1,248.30/oz. That was the highest recent price since June 28, when it reached $1,261/oz. According to the E&MJ Price Index, gold prices rose 6.7% during August. Since May, the average monthly price has hovered around the $1,200/oz level. So far, the cumulative average price for 2010 is $1,166.07/oz. Gold prices averaged $972.35/oz in 2009.

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