Metal prices to fall in 2023 — World Bank

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Metal prices are projected to fall by 8% in 2023, and a further 3% in 2024, according to World Bank’s latest Commodity Markets Outlook report.

In the first quarter of 2023, the bank’s metals and minerals price index rose 10%, reflecting optimism for a strong recovery in China and improved global growth prospects.

According to the bank, all metals prices were higher for the quarter, particularly iron ore and tin.

“However, this optimism waned, and most prices receded from their January highs by the end of the quarter,” the bank said.

Iron ore prices are the only remaining firm, due to strong demand from China’s steel sector.

“Metal prices, which increased slightly early in the year, are expected to fall by 8% relative to last year, primarily because of weak global demand and improved supplies,” said Valerie Mercer-Blackman, Lead Economist in the World Bank’s Prospects Group. 

A recovery in production, as temporary bottlenecks are resolved, is expected to lower aluminum prices by 11% in 2023.

Copper prices are forecast to fall 4% in 2023 compared with 2022, and by a further 6% in 2024 as supply conditions improve.

Nickel prices are forecast to drop by about 15% in 2023. With energy prices falling and most European smelters restarting, zinc prices are forecasted to drop by 20% this year.

“In the longer term, however, the energy transition could significantly lift the demand for some metals, notably lithium, copper, and nickel,” said Mercer-Blackman.

Precious metals prices are expected to increase by 6% in 2023 as safe-haven demand rises amid elevated uncertainty with respect to future growth prospects, ongoing concerns about inflation, and financial stress in the first quarter.

Coal prices are expected to decrease by 42% in 2023.