Monthly Metal Review

Overview

In many ways, 2011 ended much like it began, with uncertainty. December 2011 was marked by more global economic uncertainty, with euro zone turmoil, US malaise, fear of a Chinese construction bubble and turmoil in producer nations all helping to baffle miners and smelters.

Late December, the European Central Bank (ECB) moved some $640 billion into the European banking system in an aggressive, if perhaps delayed, push to relieve the continent's economy crushing credit squeeze. The relief came in the form of three-year, 1 percent loans to commercial banks and could indirectly support debtor nations, especially Spain and Italy, assuming banks use some of the funding to buy their shorter-term, higher-yield government bonds. The ECB also loosened collat-eral requirements to help smaller banks. More than 500 applied for almost 490 billion euros in loans.

Economic news from the United States remains mixed, but tinged with hope. The U.S. economy remains anemic with GDP growth expected to be less than 2 percent for all of 2011. A consensus survey of economic forecasts puts U.S. growth at 2.4 percent for 2012, but December marked the fifth consecutive month that the U.S. economy has generated at least 100,000 new jobs, a record not seen since 2006. The United States' demand for primary metals shipments were up 29.8 percent in 2011, with new orders up 26.1 percent. At the same time, metals inventories fell slightly. New orders were up 7.9 percent and year-to-date shipping values grew 6 percent.

China's metals-hungry economy has been mired since July, and some analysts say it may be reaching a tipping point. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman compared China today to Japan at the end of the 1980s and the United States in 2007. Krugman argues that Chi-na, with relatively weak domestic consumer demand, pinned growth on a real-estate bubble and "a shadowy, unregulated finance system." Property construction was at least 13 percent of GDP last year. Other economists say the bubble is bursting and fear a 25 percent sector price drop, with another 25 percent later. The world's fastest growing major economy the largest importer of iron ore and copper.

Despite a growing economy and high oil prices, inves-tors in Russia face political uncertainty. Buoyed after 4 December parliamentary elections, equities took a beating as protesters decried results that gave Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party a small major-ity win. Demonstrations continue though Putin is widely expected to be elected president in March. The Micex dropped 11 percent 12 December, double the decline for other emerging markets. Capital flight is a problem; a Russian government estimate said $70 billion will leave this year, some in loans called in by European banks.

A Peruvian government agreement with local authori-ties to hire international consultants to review environ-mental impacts of the Minas Conga project should restart work in early 2012. A late December deal with Cajamarca region authorities calls for re-examining Conga's $4.8 billion environmental permit, which was granted in 2010. Minera Yanacocha SRL, 51 percent owned by Denver based Newmont Mining Corp, suspended work during November local protests. Newmont's chief SA executive welcomed the deal. Minas Conga has estimated copper and gold reserves of $15 billion, is to open in 2014 and could yield 680,000 oz. yearly.

2012 is set to bring new metals-related tax laws. Ghana will place a 10 percent windfall tax on mining firms. That's in addition to a 10 percent hike in Ghana's corpo-rate rate to 35 percent. Poland is considering a copper tax recalculating monthly based on market price. Most notably, Indonesia plans to introduce 2012 export taxes on base metals as it works for a 2014 total ban on unpro-cessed exports.

Daily Prices

December 2011

Copper
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 7567.55
30-12-2011 7554
29-12-2011 7372
28-12-2011 7502
23-12-2011 7590
22-12-2011 7492.5
21-12-2011 7415.5
20-12-2011 7275
19-12-2011 7286.5
16-12-2011 7340
15-12-2011 7264
14-12-2011 7350
13-12-2011 7586
12-12-2011 7611.5
09-12-2011 7800.5
08-12-2011 7800.5
07-12-2011 7809
06-12-2011 7766
05-12-2011 7845
02-12-2011 7890
01-12-2011 7801
Silver
Date(Fix.) ($/OZ)
Average 30.41
30-12-2011 28.18
29-12-2011 26.16
28-12-2011 28.65
23-12-2011 29.22
22-12-2011 29.3
21-12-2011 29.75
20-12-2011 29.28
19-12-2011 28.78
16-12-2011 29.78
15-12-2011 28.8
14-12-2011 29.92
13-12-2011 31.34
12-12-2011 31.22
09-12-2011 32
08-12-2011 32.64
07-12-2011 32.45
06-12-2011 31.85
05-12-2011 32.48
02-12-2011 33.15
01-12-2011 33.28
PM MEAN AM Gold
Date(Fix.) ($/OZ)
Average 1652.73
30-12-2011 1574.5
29-12-2011 1537.5
28-12-2011 1584
23-12-2011 1607.5
22-12-2011 1609
21-12-2011 1637.5
20-12-2011 1605
19-12-2011 1593
16-12-2011 1589.5
15-12-2011 1590
14-12-2011 1635
13-12-2011 1665
12-12-2011 1680
09-12-2011 1712
08-12-2011 1739
07-12-2011 1731
06-12-2011 1720
05-12-2011 1744
02-12-2011 1751
01-12-2011 1750
Date(Fix.) ($/OZ)
Average 1649.45
30-12-2011 1574.5
29-12-2011 1534.25
28-12-2011 1577.5
23-12-2011 1607.5
22-12-2011 1607.75
21-12-2011 1622.75
20-12-2011 1609.25
19-12-2011 1595.5
16-12-2011 1591.75
15-12-2011 1582
14-12-2011 1619
13-12-2011 1668.75
12-12-2011 1669.75
09-12-2011 1710.5
08-12-2011 1727
07-12-2011 1733.25
06-12-2011 1714
05-12-2011 1744
02-12-2011 1749
01-12-2011 1751
Date(Fix.) ($/OZ)
Average 1646.18
30-12-2011 1574.5
29-12-2011 1531
28-12-2011 1571
23-12-2011 1607.5
22-12-2011 1606.5
21-12-2011 1608
20-12-2011 1613.5
19-12-2011 1598
16-12-2011 1594
15-12-2011 1574
14-12-2011 1603
13-12-2011 1672.5
12-12-2011 1659.5
09-12-2011 1709
08-12-2011 1715
07-12-2011 1735.5
06-12-2011 1708
05-12-2011 1744
02-12-2011 1747
01-12-2011 1752
Lead
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 2018.98
30-12-2011 1980
29-12-2011 1945
28-12-2011 1950.5
23-12-2011 1986
22-12-2011 1955.5
21-12-2011 1933.5
20-12-2011 1933
19-12-2011 1937.5
16-12-2011 1980
15-12-2011 1980
14-12-2011 2017
13-12-2011 2077
12-12-2011 2088
09-12-2011 2092.5
08-12-2011 2119
07-12-2011 2100
06-12-2011 2063.5
05-12-2011 2077
02-12-2011 2102.5
01-12-2011 2062
Zinc
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 1916.38
30-12-2011 1828
29-12-2011 1798
28-12-2011 1811.5
23-12-2011 1846.5
22-12-2011 1850
21-12-2011 1862.5
20-12-2011 1840.5
19-12-2011 1851.5
16-12-2011 1873
15-12-2011 1865
14-12-2011 1874
13-12-2011 1933
12-12-2011 1956
09-12-2011 1985.5
08-12-2011 2006
07-12-2011 2020.5
06-12-2011 2008
05-12-2011 2025
02-12-2011 2060
01-12-2011 2033
Tin
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 19422.50
30-12-2011 18950
29-12-2011 18705
28-12-2011 18955
23-12-2011 19400
22-12-2011 19125
21-12-2011 19195
20-12-2011 18700
19-12-2011 18675
16-12-2011 18850
15-12-2011 18610
14-12-2011 18615
13-12-2011 19510
12-12-2011 19950
09-12-2011 20250
08-12-2011 20405
07-12-2011 20475
06-12-2011 19900
05-12-2011 19880
02-12-2011 19950
01-12-2011 20350
Nickel
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 18153.50
30-12-2011 18280
29-12-2011 17955
28-12-2011 18365
23-12-2011 18630
22-12-2011 18855
21-12-2011 18570
20-12-2011 18555
19-12-2011 18350
16-12-2011 18075
15-12-2011 17850
14-12-2011 17830
13-12-2011 18390
12-12-2011 18265
09-12-2011 18325
08-12-2011 18150
07-12-2011 18135
06-12-2011 18125
05-12-2011 17890
02-12-2011 17300
01-12-2011 17175
Cobalt
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 31432.50
30-12-2011 30300
29-12-2011 32000
28-12-2011 32200
23-12-2011 32000
22-12-2011 31200
21-12-2011 32000
20-12-2011 30600
19-12-2011 30700
16-12-2011 32500
15-12-2011 31000
14-12-2011 32000
13-12-2011 31000
12-12-2011 30550
09-12-2011 33000
08-12-2011 32600
07-12-2011 30000
06-12-2011 31500
05-12-2011 31500
02-12-2011 31500
01-12-2011 30500