World events continue to signal support for hard assets, but caution is still advised. News in the copper space is as much about consolidation of the players as the metal itself right now. The $7 per share bid by China Minmetals for Equinox Minerals (EQN-T, ASX) has offered some support for other mid tier copper assets.
With Libyans having joined the movement to overturn aging autocracies the Arab street action has moved into a geopolitically more difficult territory. Concern over Libya’s oil exports are showing up as higher crude pricing. Libya’s 1.6 M barrels/day of crude output may well undergo disruptions, but the Saudis could replace that if prices move high enough to cause concern. As troubling is the unpredictability of Muammar Gaddafi and those around him. They seem more likely to go down fighting than the western leaning autocrats have been, and that is more likely to cause splintering of the country and concern similar shifts elsewhere in the region. Markets are reflecting this heightened uncertainty with continued gains for precious metals and US$ as well as oil. We expect the US$ and oil to peak before gold and its cousins do.
The last month was one of those classic speculative runs that makes everyone who trades resource stocks feel pretty smart. We're feeling kind of clever ourselves but we have been through enough markets to view self-congratulatory impulses with great suspicion. Mr Market loves hubris.