Back in August, the base metals took a vacation. Now that summer’s officially over and we are steeling ourselves for another winter of polar vortexes in a few months, the metals have returned and are moving up and down the commodity charts again… or not.
Some have gone back to market normalcy (check out platinum and palladium). Others have taken even a bigger dive than the dog days of summer brought (gold and silver) and some are extending market flatness with a staycation of sorts (raw steel, you still there?). Here’s MetalMiner’s recap of the returning metals as they stare down Q4 with the rest of us.
Palladium and Platinum: It was Fun While It Lasted
Remember just two weeks ago when palladium was riding high as the breakout star of the base metals? Even platinum was straining to catch up. Speculators were gobbling up the metal at spot and futures prices. Sadly, like all of our summer flings of yesteryear, metal buyers’ love affair with palladium was doomed to be cut short.
A ceasefire in Ukraine has left Vladimir Putin happily thumbing his nose at the international community while palladium freely flows out of Russia, depressing prices and promising ample future supply. A strong dollar delivered a double whammy to palladium prices this week, too. To add insult to injury, lowly Rhodium even jumped the price of platinum, palladium’s underperforming cousin. We’ll always have the summer of 2014, palladium.
Gold & Silver: 2011 Was a Long Time Ago
Silver and gold held up remarkably well for the first half of the year but that strong US dollar has pulled the rug out from under them. As investment metals without as much industrial use, gold and silver were hammered even harder than platinum and palladium by the dollar. Gold even hit a 10-week COMEX low.
MetalMiner Lead Forecaster Raul De Frutos warned you about gold and silver, we sure hope you listened.
Raw Steels: Nothing to See Here
While the other metals have ebbed and flowed, steel has continued to confound forecasters by remaining really, really flat. Number one consumer China is still mired in the economic doldrums but even hot-rolled coil from China was down only a marginal 10% last week. The more things change for the other base metals the more they seem to stay the same for steel.
Our lead forecaster cleverly points out that despite MMI and LME flatness, steel companies are still finding ways to make money, that might mean that the breakout for steel will be a big one… if it ever comes. The wait’s been a real doozy, guys.
That’s where the first week of fall finds our base metals. Hope you’re not having as tough of a time saying goodbye to summer!