As industrial activity picks up across the globe, the demand for metals will continue to grow in 2018, says Sandeep Dewan.
The global economy is doing well. Growth already beat expectations in 2017 and the global economy will continue to quicken in 2018. This sets the stage for a further strengthening of the - highly cyclical - industrial metal prices. Many economies in Asia (notably China) are settling into a more stable economic growth trend. That is good news, because this region is the epicentre of demand for industrial metals.
Europe – accounting for a share of about 15% in the demand for industrial metals – is also a formidable customer. Economic sentiment in Europe is extraordinarily upbeat. The US presents a more mixed picture. Many confidence indices are relatively high, but sales of new-builds and cars remain comparatively weak. The experts expect the US economy to continue an upward trajectory in 2018.
Chinese industrial metal imports have gone through peaks and troughs over the years. Import growth slowed sharply just after the 2008- 2009 crisis, and has remained relatively low since 2014. This flattening growth is related to the cooling of the Chinese economy and China’s transition from an investment-driven to a consumption led growth model. Despite the ongoing cooling of the Chinese economy, China’s appetite for industrial metals remains high, especially because of the relentless urbanisation trend and the proposed mega-investments in infrastructure. Given that China consumes about 50% of all industrial metals, it will continue to stamp its mark on industrial metal trends for the time being.
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