Metal worker teaching trainee on machine use

With overall commodity prices continuing to head higher as the global economic recovery gains momentum, Fitch Ratings is boosting its expectations for global metals and mining prices.

The rating agency said it has increased most of its short-term price assumptions, while leaving its long-term assumptions unchanged.

“Many commodity prices have been benefitting from pent-up demand in 2021, and we expect stronger pricing sentiment to spill over into early 2022,” Fitch said.

For copper prices, Fitch sees continued strength “supported by low inventories, economic recovery, stimulus packages and expectations of increased medium-term demand due to energy transition.”

China in particular is boosting demand for both iron and aluminium.

“We expect China to remain a net aluminium importer due to its decarbonization efforts,” Fitch said. “We have slightly raised our 2023 price assumptions as a result, in addition to increases in 2021 and 2022.”

Yet, it sees some easing in iron ore prices later in 2021, with China already raising concerns about those prices and aiming to cut emissions from industries such as steel.

“Reduced Chinese steel output could affect long-term demand for iron ore,” Fitch said.

“We also expect incremental supply growth from key iron ore producers, which should balance the market in the medium and long term,” it added.

Fitch also pushed its price assumptions higher for gold on recent strength, and said demand is supporting higher short-term prices for nickel as well.