News - Prospector's Diary

Welcome back to Prospector’s Diary after a Christmas break that saw a number of significant developments...

Welcome back to Prospector’s Diary after a Christmas break that saw a number of significant developments, and while a trade-war truce might seem to be most important, there are other contenders, including a fall in the value of the US dollar and the overdue return of inflation. Taken collectively, it’s hard to not see 2020 being a good year for resources with a glimpse of what’s to come to be found in a stronger-than-expected price for iron ore, a rising copper price, heavy-duty support for gold and a record high for leading indices which track the Australian stock market.

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Whether it’s going long or short, the iron ore market is not for the faint-hearted, as its latest unexpected rise shows. And the coming year is likely to see more of the same, while copper looks set for good gains.

Iron ore wasn’t supposed to be the star commodity of 2019 but thanks to a shortfall in Brazilian production and stronger than expected Chinese demand, that’s how it turned out, and next year could be just as interesting, though perhaps with a “back-to-the-future” twist. The performance of iron ore, and a strong year for gold, were coloured by a terrible 12-months for battery metals and a roller-coaster ride for nickel, leaving open the critical question of what’s best for 2020 –with copper the early favourite.

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Gold mining stocks got a “triple-T” boost this week with Trade, Trump and Takeovers lifting its price to a one-month high and what could be the start of a drive back above the $US1500 an ounce mark.

Gold mining stocks got a “triple-T” boost this week with Trade, Trump and Takeovers lifting its price to a one-month high and what could be the start of a drive back above the $US1500 an ounce mark. The share prices of miners reacted modestly to the rising price for the yellow metal, which reached $US1483/oz on Wednesday before sliding back to around $US1475/oz – a gain for the week of $US14/oz.

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The pace of gold deals accelerated this week, but not everyone was happy as some prices started to looked stretched.

The pace of gold deals accelerated this week, but not everyone was happy as some prices started to looked stretched. Evolution led the way among Australian-listed stocks with the $US475 million acquisition of the Red Lake complex in Ontario from US gold major, Newmont. Investors liked the move, lifting Evolution’s share-price by 8c to $3.96. There were fewer smiles when Kirkland Lake, a Canadian company which has an Australian listing and owns the high-grade Fosterville mine in Victoria trundled out a $US3.7 billion all-shares merger with fellow Canadian Detour Gold.

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If not for a series of significant fund raisings to back expansion moves by gold, nickel and lithium-exposed companies, the past five trading days were largely negative for investors.

If not for a series of significant fund raisings to back expansion moves by gold, nickel and lithium-exposed companies, the past five trading days were largely negative for investors. Saracen Mineral Holdings was the big one this week, attracting $796 million to help pay for a company-changing half-share in the Kalgoorlie Superpit gold mine. Mincor’s $35 million to accelerate nickel developments and ioneers’s $40 million to expand work on its Rhyolite Ridge lithium and boron project in the US. were two other well-supported deals.

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Waiting for a sea-change in financial markets can be frustrating, and it certainly was this week for investors who moved too quickly into industrial metals in the belief that gold has run its race. But that’s not quite how events played out.

Waiting for a sea-change in financial markets can be frustrating, and it certainly was this week for investors who moved too quickly into industrial metals in the belief that gold has run its race. But that’s not quite how events played out. Next year it could be a different story given the early signs of the global economy entering a recovery phase after a horrid year, though the core problem remains the same - the unpredictable moods of the US President, Donald Trump.

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Supply cuts and renewed optimism of a deal to end the China v US trade war triggered a modest realignment this week by investors

Supply cuts and renewed optimism of a deal to end the China v US trade war triggered a modest realignment this week by investors who shifted funds into industrial commodities and away from gold and other safe havens. How long that trend can continue will be very much influenced by political factors unfolding around the world, from Brexit in the UK to impeachment speculation in the US and civil unrest in Chile and other important South American copper-producing countries.

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Nickel won the gold medal at a major metals conference in London this week

Nickel won the gold medal at a major metals conference in London this week but not on the market where the price barely moved, an anomaly which should be corrected next year on the purest of fundamental measures - demand is rising and supply is falling. The muted reaction of nickel to the latest crack-down on exports of unprocessed metal by Indonesia was the biggest surprise on commodity markets, which continue to behave erratically thanks to the ongoing political and economic uncertainties in Europe, the UK and the US.

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