Energy and Metals Outlook

Copper, which had lagged the upturn in most other industrial metals and bulk commodities, has soared in recent weeks. Its sudden spike reflects support from Chinese demand and speculation regarding increases in infrastructure spending in the US. Beijing reported a solid Q3 GDP performance in October, as well as a positive manufacturing PMI, suggesting that earlier fears of a possible steep slowdown were overdone. Several panellists have adjusted their quarterly commodity price forecasts in response, but warn of high volatility in the short term due to profit-taking and concerns that the expectation-driven surge might not be sustainable. Evidence of a rush into commodity futures by Chinese investors, which propelled Iron Ore, Steel and Coal, add to a sense that their bullish performance is not built on stable foundations. A pull back in prices may occur as speculative behaviour in Asia starts to cool, with Chinese exchanges having launched a series of transaction fee hikes to tame price volatility.

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