VANCOUVER — The annual gathering of London Metal Exchange (LME) Week provides a bellwether for the major trends in base metals and industrial mineral markets over the coming year.
Metals investors, producers and consumers descended on London in early November to discuss emerging themes that include: impending copper and nickel deficits, expanding electric-vehicle (EV) markets, and the impacts of environmental protection in China.
According to Colin Hamilton, managing director of commodities at BMO Capital Markets, copper and nickel dominated many discussions.
Copper has been topical over the past six months, as three-month future contracts gained 20% en route to a $3.10 per lb. close at the time of writing.
For copper, the bullish investment thesis combines declining head grades at major operations, a lack of modern exploration investment, and a limited selection of viable development projects at current prices.
There’s dispute, however, over the timing of any pending copper supply deficit, and its effect on prices.
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