Monthly Metal Review

Overview

The second EU bailout of Greece was done, with drama, producing relative economic calm in February compared to the tumultuous months preceding it. Political controversy surrounds Europe's fiscal treaty proposal and Ireland’s prime minister has called for a referendum on it. Still, the region's cred-it woes continue while Greeks protest harsh austerity measures engineered by Northern countries.

February began with news that 16.5-million people in the 17-nation EU, 10.4 percent, were unemployed. Joblessness was 23 percent in Spain and 20 in Greece. Germany had 6.7 percent. Almost one in two Spaniards and Greeks 16 to 24 cannot find work.

Meanwhile, the U.S. seems to be on the path to economic recovery with employment growing by nearly 2 million since the summer.

The Middle East bubbles, Iran and Israel bluster and in Syria civil war takes shape. Equities are robust and gold, not unexpectedly, is up, coinciding with U.S. economic-recovery news.

Economic growth in India slowed from an annualized 6.9 percent to 6.1 percent over the last quarter of 2011, due to a fall in corporate investments as well as in exports despite a weakened currency.

With a slowing economy, China loosened bank rules and eased credit to encourage growth. Tough capital rules meant to fight inflation have been softened to relax reserve-capital requirements and allow longer grace periods. Commodities rose after the People’s Bank cut major lender's reserve-requirement ratios, the cash banks must have in reserve, by 50 basis points to spur lending and liquidity. China’s economy grew more than 9 percent in 2011. Economists forecast slower growth, to perhaps 8 percent.

A World Bank report said China could face an economic crisis unless it reforms its system of state-owned enterprises to make them operate more like commercial firms. Done with a Chinese government think tank, the report says growth could decelerate rapidly and spread, deepening problems in banking and elsewhere. It urged Beijing to overhaul local government finances and promote competition and entrepreneurship.

Last year was the worst in a decade for many commodities hedge funds. The average commodities fund fell 1.7 percent; down from a 2010 rise of 10.7, according to the Newedge index. Giants like Blen-heim, BlueGold, Clive Capital and Merchant reported double-digit year losses. The Reuters-Jefferies CRB index fell 8.3 percent, pulled down by lower metals and ag rawmaterials prices. Still, some metals specialists had strong returns, profiting from bearish positions on copper.

In early February, a study submitted to South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) buried the mine nationalization project. South African congressmen have long wished to cap a larger part of the country’s mineral resources, which Citigroup valued at USD 2.5 trillion in 2010. President Jacob Zuma finally rejected the nationalization project which, according to that study, would have cost around US$130 billion, an amount equivalent to South Africa’s annual budget. Instead, the govern-ment is more prone on adopting the study’s proposal to set a 50-percent capital gains tax on the sale of South African minerals.

Daily Prices

February 2012

Copper
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 8422.69
29-02-2012 8585
28-02-2012 8658
27-02-2012 8436
24-02-2012 8441
23-02-2012 8408
22-02-2012 8391
21-02-2012 8325
20-02-2012 8234
17-02-2012 8370
16-02-2012 8209.5
15-02-2012 8395.5
14-02-2012 8405
13-02-2012 8512
10-02-2012 8591
09-02-2012 8520.5
08-02-2012 8586
07-02-2012 8335.5
06-02-2012 8463
03-02-2012 8320
02-02-2012 8339
01-02-2012 8351.5
Silver
Date(Fix.) ($/OZ)
Average 34.14
29-02-2012 37.23
28-02-2012 35.6
27-02-2012 35.09
24-02-2012 35.57
23-02-2012 34.55
22-02-2012 34.08
21-02-2012 33.65
20-02-2012 33.56
17-02-2012 33.48
16-02-2012 33.18
15-02-2012 33.69
14-02-2012 33.51
13-02-2012 33.84
10-02-2012 33.55
09-02-2012 33.8
08-02-2012 34.37
07-02-2012 33.28
06-02-2012 33.52
03-02-2012 33.93
02-02-2012 33.67
01-02-2012 33.8
PM MEAN AM Gold
Date(Fix.) ($/OZ)
Average 1743.10
29-02-2012 1788
28-02-2012 1774.75
27-02-2012 1765
24-02-2012 1778.5
23-02-2012 1776.5
22-02-2012 1754.75
21-02-2012 1737
20-02-2012 1729.5
17-02-2012 1732
16-02-2012 1716
15-02-2012 1725.5
14-02-2012 1721
13-02-2012 1727
10-02-2012 1715.5
09-02-2012 1733
08-02-2012 1743
07-02-2012 1720
06-02-2012 1717
03-02-2012 1759.5
02-02-2012 1747.5
01-02-2012 1744
Date(Fix.) ($/OZ)
Average 1742.86
29-02-2012 1779
28-02-2012 1777.875
27-02-2012 1768.5
24-02-2012 1778
23-02-2012 1776.75
22-02-2012 1753.375
21-02-2012 1742.5
20-02-2012 1731.25
17-02-2012 1727.5
16-02-2012 1714.5
15-02-2012 1729.25
14-02-2012 1721.5
13-02-2012 1723.5
10-02-2012 1713.5
09-02-2012 1740.5
08-02-2012 1744.5
07-02-2012 1722
06-02-2012 1718
03-02-2012 1746.75
02-02-2012 1749.25
01-02-2012 1742
Date(Fix.) ($/OZ)
Average 1742.62
29-02-2012 1770
28-02-2012 1781
27-02-2012 1772
24-02-2012 1777.5
23-02-2012 1777
22-02-2012 1752
21-02-2012 1748
20-02-2012 1733
17-02-2012 1723
16-02-2012 1713
15-02-2012 1733
14-02-2012 1722
13-02-2012 1720
10-02-2012 1711.5
09-02-2012 1748
08-02-2012 1746
07-02-2012 1724
06-02-2012 1719
03-02-2012 1734
02-02-2012 1751
01-02-2012 1740
Lead
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 2126.12
29-02-2012 2232.5
28-02-2012 2238
27-02-2012 2156
24-02-2012 2153.5
23-02-2012 2114
22-02-2012 2070
21-02-2012 2057
20-02-2012 2028
17-02-2012 2029
16-02-2012 1985
15-02-2012 2048.5
14-02-2012 2076
13-02-2012 2127.5
10-02-2012 2169
09-02-2012 2141.5
08-02-2012 2190.5
07-02-2012 2126
06-02-2012 2165.5
03-02-2012 2147
02-02-2012 2184
01-02-2012 2210
Zinc
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 2058.21
29-02-2012 2125.5
28-02-2012 2124
27-02-2012 2046.5
24-02-2012 2061
23-02-2012 2037
22-02-2012 2007
21-02-2012 2006.5
20-02-2012 1951
17-02-2012 1963.5
16-02-2012 1951
15-02-2012 2016.5
14-02-2012 2021.5
13-02-2012 2087.5
10-02-2012 2112.5
09-02-2012 2108
08-02-2012 2129
07-02-2012 2082
06-02-2012 2120
03-02-2012 2088
02-02-2012 2093
01-02-2012 2091.5
Tin
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 24342.62
29-02-2012 24250
28-02-2012 24125
27-02-2012 23475
24-02-2012 24100
23-02-2012 24035
22-02-2012 23950
21-02-2012 23750
20-02-2012 23550
17-02-2012 24200
16-02-2012 24005
15-02-2012 24535
14-02-2012 24800
13-02-2012 25325
10-02-2012 25500
09-02-2012 25160
08-02-2012 25650
07-02-2012 24250
06-02-2012 24375
03-02-2012 24000
02-02-2012 24100
01-02-2012 24060
Nickel
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 20465.00
29-02-2012 19910
28-02-2012 20210
27-02-2012 19835
24-02-2012 19905
23-02-2012 20000
22-02-2012 20100
21-02-2012 19990
20-02-2012 19600
17-02-2012 19735
16-02-2012 19755
15-02-2012 20350
14-02-2012 20205
13-02-2012 20980
10-02-2012 21050
09-02-2012 21350
08-02-2012 21830
07-02-2012 21300
06-02-2012 21105
03-02-2012 20780
02-02-2012 20905
01-02-2012 20870
Cobalt
Date(Fix.) ($/MT)
Average 31811.90
29-02-2012 31600
28-02-2012 31500
27-02-2012 31500
24-02-2012 31500
23-02-2012 31500
22-02-2012 31500
21-02-2012 31500
20-02-2012 32000
17-02-2012 32250
16-02-2012 32250
15-02-2012 33000
14-02-2012 32700
13-02-2012 31000
10-02-2012 31000
09-02-2012 31000
08-02-2012 31250
07-02-2012 32000
06-02-2012 31500
03-02-2012 31500
02-02-2012 33000
01-02-2012 33000