Base Metals Weekly Round-Up: All Eyes on US-China Trade Talks

- September 27th, 2019

What happened in the base metals space this week? Here’s a look at the top stories covered by the Investing News Network.

Copper prices ended the week on a high note, trading at US$5,755 per tonne on Thursday (September 26). 

The metal started the week below the U$5,700 mark at US$5,694, but optimism about US-China trade talks supported metal prices throughout the week.

“A lot of the negative impact of the trade war is already built into prices of copper and other industrial metals,” SP Angel analyst John Meyer told Reuters. “Every time the market thinks a deal may not be too far away, prices pick up.”

US-China trade negotiations are set to resume on October 10 in Washington, as per a report from CNBC.

Despite edging up on Thursday, nickel prices were on track for a weekly loss. Starting the trading week at US$17,750 per tonne, prices were down at US$17,360 by the end of the five day period.

Looking over to zinc, prices ticked up on Thursday, trading at US$2,337 per tonne. The metal, used to galvanize steel, hit its lowest point on Wednesday (September 25) at US$2,287.50.

Iron ore prices remained almost unchanged throughout the week, kicking off on Monday (September 23) at US$93.49 per tonne and ending the week at US$92.89.

Top base metals news stories

1. Western Copper and Gold: Gold May Still Run, Copper Definitely Will

The gold price may be flying high, but Paul West-Sells, president and CEO of Western Copper and Gold (TSX:WRN,NYSEAMERICAN:WRN), believes copper has plenty of upside potential as well.

“I think US$1,500 (per ounce) gold is very exciting for everybody,” he said on the sidelines of the Precious Metals Summit in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

“(But) the thing actually that I find quite interesting is that there’s a couple of the funds we met with that were more interested in our copper than our gold. These are mining funds and they sort of said, ‘Look, gold’s had a good run, we’ve made a lot of money on those equities. We’re selling them and moving into some of the copper ones,’” explained West-Sells.

2. First Quantum Minerals Falls After Denying Takeover Talks

Shares of Canadian copper miner First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM,OTC Pink:FQVLF) plummeted on Monday after it denied rumors that it has received takeover offers.

Last week, a report from Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the matter, said global miners were interested in First Quantum, which operates Kansanshi — Africa’s largest copper mine. The sources said the company was working with defense advisors to examine its options.

“First Quantum has not engaged in any discussions regarding a takeover bid or other change of control transaction and has no knowledge of potential takeover bids, change of control transactions or proposals,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

3. 3 Copper Stocks to Watch in 2019

Copper prices have performed with volatility in the past three months as uncertainty surrounding US-China trade talks continues to hit the space.

Concerns about demand from China, the world’s top consumer, have also hurt the base metal in recent weeks. Prices have been trending around the US$5,700 mark, significantly down from the yearly high they hit in March at US$6,570.

In their latest report, Raymond James analysts shared their top copper stocks to watch in 2019 and reduced their average annual copper price forecast.

Also in the news

After receiving demands by environmental groups and parent company Andes Iron, the Dominga copper mining project will have to be reviewed again by an environmental tribune, Chile’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Zambia has decided not to replace its value-added tax with a non-refundable sales tax, which is a major concession to mining companies that fiercely opposed the proposal. Zambia is Africa’s second largest copper producer.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: Western Copper and Gold is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

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