News - Prospector's Diary

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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Gold recovered a little lost ground this week but the more important development was a double-dose of “outage” events in South America

Gold recovered a little lost ground this week but the more important development was a double-dose of “outage” events in South America which reinforced the investment case for copper and iron ore. Industrial and civil unrest in Chile and Peru, two of the world’s major copper producing countries, lifted the copper price by US8 cents a pound to $US2.64/lb, its highest for six weeks – even as underlying demand remained flat thanks to the US v China trade war.

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First signs of lithium hitting the bottom after a torrid year of falling prices could be seen in market commentary this week with leading investment banks hinting that a lithium rebound could be on the way.

First signs of lithium hitting the bottom after a torrid year of falling prices could be seen in market commentary this week with leading investment banks hinting that a lithium rebound could be on the way. J.P. Morgan was first to suggest that it might be time to take a fresh look at lithium stocks, followed by Morgan Stanley, which said a tour of Chile’s lithium industry revealed some ongoing uncertainty but that “downside risk is becoming more limited”.

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Gold first. Daylight second. Those four words perfectly sum up the state-of-play on the Australian stock market as more investors join the flight to safety while the international geopolitical and trade backdrop worsens.

Gold first. Daylight second. Those four words perfectly sum up the state-of-play on the Australian stock market as more investors join the flight to safety while the international geopolitical and trade backdrop worsens. A measure of the gap between strongly performing gold (and goldminers) could be gleaned from a unique mid-week piece of research by Macquarie Bank which looked at the damage done by the China v US trade war and past crises.

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The risk-chickens came home to roost this week as the compounding effect of trade war jitters were magnified by the start of a debilitating US Presidential impeachment process

The risk-chickens came home to roost this week as the compounding effect of trade war jitters were magnified by the start of a debilitating US Presidential impeachment process, leaving gold as the only clear winner – but with another precious metal tailing along. Palladium, a sister of platinum but not a mainstream commodity, has emerged as the star of the year, though there are very few entry points for Australian investors unless they’re prepared to look to South Africa or Russia – where entirely new levels of risk abound.

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Positive discovery news at a number of exploration projects partially offset the effects of a $US20 an ounce fall in the gold price yesterday

Positive discovery news at a number of exploration projects partially offset the effects of a $US20 an ounce fall in the gold price yesterday, and the negative influence of international political shenanigans, to leave financial markets in an eerie truce. Stavely’s exceptional copper assays from its Thursday’s Gossan project in Victoria (the subject of Barry Fitzgerald’s column, above) lit up the market, along with Mincor’s high-grade nickel hit at the Cassini project in WA and Azure Minerals’ exceptional zinc recoveries at its Oposura mine in Mexico.

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Oil, gold and copper have emerged from the fog of the China v US trade war as clear leaders in a “beauty parade” of commodities most likely to succeed over the next 12-months, and perhaps longer.

Oil, gold and copper have emerged from the fog of the China v US trade war as clear leaders in a “beauty parade” of commodities most likely to succeed over the next 12-months, and perhaps longer. The case for gold, which is well understood by most investors, was strengthened by the same issue which pushed oil higher this week; global economic and political uncertainty, with a whiff of cordite in the air as the Middle East stumbled into a fresh crisis.

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Just as one swallow does not a summer make, according to an old proverb, neither does one week of falling gold and rising copper signal a sea-change in investment markets

Just as one swallow does not a summer make, according to an old proverb, neither does one week of falling gold and rising copper signal a sea-change in investment markets – but it could, and that’s interesting. The switch, so modest that not many people noticed, saw gold slip by $64 an ounce to around $US1491/oz and copper rise by US10 cents a pound to $US2.62/lb. In percentage terms, those moves look a little more thought-provoking because they are both roughly 4% - gold down by 4%, copper up by 4%.

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