will be the metal to watch for investors next year, as a lack
of investment and a pickup in lead-acid battery demand could
push prices higher, Standard Bank commodity strategist Melinda
Moore said during LME Week in London last week.
has meant that no one has been investing in it to create more
production capacity, but an anticipated pick-up in the battery
sector could lend support to lead prices in the future, Moore
"No one invested in it
and so suddenly lead is going along very happily. It is the one
to watch and to invest in if you can cope with the idea of
investing in lead," she said.
Standard Bank forecast
lead prices to rise to $2,139 per tonne in 2013, up 3.7 percent
year on year, and increase 18 percent in 2014 to $2,525.
Zinc is another metal
to watch over the next couple of years due in part to a supply
depletion, technical difficulties in mines and low prices,
Banks forecast shows zinc prices dropping in 2013 and
2014 to $1,901 per tonne and $1,870, respectively, they are
projected to rise to $2,000 per tonne in 2015, up 7 percent
year on year.
The surplus of nickel
will contribute to its negative performance, Moore said, but
the price drop has led to more of the metal being used in
stainless steel, whereas previously high prices had made its
use less economical, she added.
estimated nickel prices to fall 14.2 percent year on year in
2014 to $15,032 per tonne.
Moore projected copper
prices will likely remain "muted" in the coming year due to
strong growth in China and an increase in supply coming
"There are mine
disruptions but overall, supply is growing relative to demand.
If demand growth doesnt rise as quickly, we will start to
see a surplus emerging," she said.
Standard Bank expected
copper prices to drop 6.8 percent year on year in 2014 to
$7,419 per tonne.
Aluminum prices are
likely to continue to suffer against the high levels of stock
that outweigh its demand, she said.
The increased use of
aluminum in cars and its use as a copper substitute in some
electrical products could give some lift to the market, but
there is less aluminum being used in construction, she
"Ultimately, we have
just got too much stock relative to demand," Moore said.
Standard Bank predicted aluminum prices to fall 7.9 percent
year on year in 2014 to $1,861 per tonne.
A version of this article was first
published in AMM sister publication Metal