Taking stock of global metal sector trends and outlook
The most-widely traded base and ferrous metals have benefited from a bull market since mid- 2016. Prices have increased on the back of robust global economic growth and technological shifts that have triggered a surge in metal use. Such an uptick in demand has not been observed since the period following the 2008-2010 economic and financial crisis. The use of these metals has been buoyed by highly synchronized growth recovery in the major economies, and has helped the mining and smelting sectors to recover after the end of the commodity super-cycle in the late 2000's.
This environment of rising prices and booming demand has triggered the reopening of some mines, which could reduce global supply deficits for aluminium, copper, and zinc. However, we expect that the trends in the sector will be mixed going forward. Taking into account the rising demand for metal in the context of a still-positive global economic outlook, it appears that we are already beyond the peak of global growth, which should theoretically exert downside pressure on prices in the medium- to long-term.