Commodity Price Barometer: April 2013
- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Commodities
The monthly update of the Greenfields Research Commodity Price Barometer paints a changeable picture for commodities. More commodity prices remain in the “dry” and “fair” categories than in the “rainy” and “stormy” ones. However, with more commodity prices falling than rising, there is the suggestion that the weather is getting worse. The conditions remain good for iron ore, palladium and once again tantalum, with tungsten also continuing its rise. Cobalt, gallium and molybdenum, along with most of the cheaper rare earths however remained in very stormy markets.
The Greenfields Research Commodity Price Barometer ranks commodity prices on a barometer style rating of stormy (low) through rain, change (medium) and fair to dry (high) comparing current spot prices to five-year mean averages. Again, like a barometer, commodity prices are further divided into those rising and falling from their previous month’s position.
Iron ore and palladium remain the outperformers, holding their position in the “dry and rising” category. They are re-joined this month by tantalum, after a wobble last month. Silver and gold remain at recent historical highs, though both fell this month; and whilst silver remains in the “dry” category, gold has now slipped down to “fair” levels. Gold is joined in the “fair but falling” range by other recent star performing commodities – antimony and tin. By contrast tungsten continues to improve, but remains at the “fair but rising” level.
Showing some positivity are indium and bismuth, both making up the “changeable but rising” group. Bismuth in particular has moved from the “rainy” category last month, to “changeable” this month. Bellwether commodity copper, along with platinum and zinc, however remain in the “changeable but falling” range, perhaps reflecting the overall cautious attitude in the commodities industry at the moment. They are joined by lead, which this month is also “changeable but falling”.
The best performing rare earths though can only reach “changeable” levels, with all continuing to stall or fall this month. The three highest value rare earths hold onto this level – dysprosium, europium and terbium, along with magnet-focused praseodymium. The other magnet rare earths – neodymium and gadolinium are in the “rainy and falling” category. They are joined in this group by base metal, nickel, and whilst uranium is also at this level, it has shown signs of price improvement so is the sole commodity in the “rainy but rising” category.
The lower value rare earths – cerium, lanthanum, samarium and yttrium remain amongst the worst performing commodities, in the “stormy but falling” group. They are joined by cobalt, gallium and molybdenum. Rhodium however whilst still “stormy” is showing signs of improving conditions and is this month’s only “stormy but rising” commodity.
Overall, when excluding the rare earths (which generally perform in a similar manner) there are more “dry” and “fair” commodities than “rainy” and “stormy”, suggesting market conditions in the industry are still fairly good. There is however an increasingly large “changeable” group (six, not including the rare earths) and there are more commodities “falling” than “rising” suggesting the near term outlook is troubled.
As ever if you feel there are any interesting “mineable” commodities missing from the barometer, please let us know and we’ll see if they can be added.
Dry and rising (+25% above 5 year average with month-on-month increase)
- Iron Ore
Dry but falling (+25% above 5 year average with month-on-month decrease)
Fair and rising (+10% above 5 year average with month-on-month increase)
Fair but falling (+10% above 5 year average with month-on-month decrease)
Changeable and rising (between -10% to +10% of the 5yr average with m-o-m increase)
Changeable and falling (between -10% to +10% of the 5yr average with m-o-m decrease)
Rainy but rising (-10% below 5 year average with month-on-month increase)
Rainy and falling (+10% below 5 year average with month-on-month decrease)
Stormy but rising (-25% below 5 year average with month-on-month increase)
Stormy and falling (-25% below 5 year average with month-on-month decrease)
Prices are March monthly averages compared to the five-year average (April 2008-March 2013), except for uranium and iron ore where February 2012 monthly average prices are compared to the five-year average (March 2008-February 2012).
Product specifications are Antimony Regulus min 99.65% Grade II (EU); Bismuth min 99.99% (EU); Cobalt min 99.3% Russian (EU); LME Cash Copper; Gallium 99.99% CIF Main Airport (EU); LMBA Gold morning fixing; Indium min 99.99% (EU); China import Iron Ore Fines 62% FE spot (CFR Tianjin port); LME Cash Lead; Molybdenum Roasted Concentrates (Oxide) Mo 57% (EU) Mo; LME Cash Lead; Platinum 99.95% AM/PM fixes (EU); Palladium 99.95% AM/PM fixes (EU); Rhodium min 99.9% (EU); LMBA Silver Fixing; Tantalite basis 30% Ta2O5 (EU) Ta2O5; LME Cash Tin; Tungsten APT (EU); Index Mundi UxC Uranium U3O8 Swap Futures End of Day Settlement Price; LME cash zinc; Ce Oxide 99% min FOB China (CN); Dy Oxide 99% min FOB China (CN); Eu Oxide 99.9% min FOB China (CN); Gd Oxide 99% min FOB China (CN); La Oxide 99% min FOB China (CN); Nd Oxide 99% min FOB China (CN); Pr Oxide 99% min FOB China (CN); Sm Oxide 99% min FOB China (CN); Tb Oxide 99% min FOB China (CN); and Y Oxide 99.999% min FOB China (CN).