Zinc was once again the best performing commodity for the week with LME prices ending at $2,882 a tonne ($1.31 a pound), a 6.7% jump over the last five trading days, outperforming sector bellwether copper’s 3.4% gain for the week.
Zinc, up 12% year to date, is being buoyed by record refined output in China and tight supply after a number of mine closures.
RBC Capital in a recent research note followed others to upgrade its forecasts for the metal. The Canadian investment bank quoted by investment blog Barron’s upped its previous forecast for the zinc price by 8%. RBC believes zinc will advance to $1.35 a pound or $2,976 a tonne over the year.
RBC is generally bullish on industrial metals and steelmaking raw materials saying “commodity price strength could continue into the second quarter driven by improving leading economic indicators and strong seasonality.” It singled out zinc as the metal with the “best fundamentals”.
Glencore (which RBC rates as an “outperformer”) with its financial results release said conditions that saw zinc jump 60% last year should continue in 2017:
[In 2016] the widely anticipated zinc mining output reduction materialised and resulted in significantly tighter physical market conditions, particularly for zinc concentrate. Confirmation of decreasing supply, in combination with better than anticipated demand conditions driven by the recovery of the Chinese real estate and global automotive market, has resulted in destocking of both zinc concentrates and metal during the year and a higher corresponding LME price.