BASE METALS

Mining cycle heads for 'sweet spot', says Jefferies

The successful development of a vaccine for COVID-19 coupled with reduced uncertainty following the US elections could release a wave of pent up macroeconomic demand, with base metals such as copper and nickel set to benefit as a result, analysts from US investment bank Jefferies said on Tuesday.

Staff reporter
Jefferies sees copper and nickel prices rising in the mid-term

Jefferies sees copper and nickel prices rising in the mid-term

"All things considered, we believe we are heading into the sweet spot of the mining cycle," said Jefferies.

Jefferies said a Biden presidency would "likely be more of a net positive as a massive new Green Deal is possible under his administration", although the bank conceded the potential for higher taxes under Biden presented a downside risk to US GDP.

"Either way, an end to the uncertainty regarding these elections should be a positive for commodity prices and for mining share prices," said Jefferies.

As it has done frequently over the past year, Jefferies pointed to copper as one of the metals to benefit most from cyclical as well as structural demand growth, the latter coming from renewable energy, electric vehicles and anti-microbial applications.

Nickel, meanwhile, should also benefit from the EV revolution, with the supply constraints of both metals likely to send prices higher in the coming years.

Jefferies said iron ore was the "outlier, as we believe slower Chinese demand will lead to some downside to prices", but said it still expected benchmark prices to average north of US$100/tonne for 2021.

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