2020 LME BASE METALS PRICE REVIEW: Cu keeps Covid at bay, rises to 2013 levels; nickel spurred on by EV prospects

The advent of Covid-19 pushed prices to their lowest levels during the first quarter of the year, yet by the end of 2020, most underlying prices on the London Metal Exchange had bounced back to multi-year highs. Fastmarkets looks at why some metals outperformed others.

Figure 1: LME Indexed performance up until December 24. Copper – cash price gain of 25% ($6,179.50 per tonne open 3 Jan to $7,749 per tonne close 31 Dec)  Copper began the year close to the $6,000 per tonne mark and came to its lowest on March 19, at $4,353.50 per tonne, when concerns over the spread of Covid-19 in the Western world took over the dollar denominated markets. The red metal’s price – along with the rest of base metals - was then boosted from July when China resumed economic activity after a prolonged shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, compensating for a sharp decline in demand elsewhere in the world. This year's imports of refined copper into China were the most on record, with the country bringing in 5.6 million tonnes of unwrought copper and copper products in the first 10 months of the year, up by 41.4% from a year...

Published

Ana de Liz

December 31, 2020

16:50 GMT

London