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Commodities Markets Reviews

Cobalt Market. Supply and Demand

There have been many major changes in the cobalt market over the last twenty-five years. We have seen a significant increase in the number of cobalt producers and production has changed form being predominantly copper-based to nickel-based and in most recent years to primary operations. On the demand side, we have seen a move away from low value applications to specialised apllications which rely on the unique properties of cobalt.

Copper Market: Mining, Production and Consumption of Copper

The goal is to achieve uniform contained copper statistics for mine production. Contained copper is defined as the analytical amount of copper outputted in concentrates and precipitates. Where applicable, statistical notation is made for olvent-extraction/electrowinning (SX-EW) at the mine level to distinguish this production from copper derived from concentrates and cement copper. While only one SX-EW category is shown at the mine level, SX-EW is separated statistically into two marketable types at the smelter and refinery levels.

Gold Market. The Uses of Gold

Gold's great virtues of malleability, ductility, reflectivity, resistance to corrosion and unparalleled ability as a thermal and electrical conductor mean it is used in a wide variety of industrial applications consuming close to 300 tonnes annually. The prime use is in electronics. Our age of high technology finds it indispensable in everything from pocket calculators to computers, washing machines to television and missiles to spacecraft.

Global Oil Reserves, Production and Consumption

Saudi Arabia has 261,700,000,000 barrels (bbl) of oil, fully 25% of the world's oil. The United States has 22,450,000,000 bbl. The United States government recently declared Alberta's oil sands to be 'proven oil reserves.' Consequently, the U.S. upgraded its global oil estimates for Canada from five billions to 175 billion barrels. Only Saudi Arabia has more oil. The U.S. ambassador to Canada has said the United States needs this energy supply and has called for a more streamlined regulatory process to encourage investment and facilitate development.

Palladium Market. The Uses of Palladium

Demand for palladium in autocatalysts started to increase significantly in the seventies when clean air legislation was introduced in USA and Japan. Many other countries followed this policy since then. Moreover, in the last decade, palladium demand soared as there was a substitution from platinum to palladium in autocatalysts in the United States. This was mainly due to palladium's relatively lower cost and better performance in autocatalysts. In Europe platinum was more widely used since it is an essential element for more popular diesel cars. In the last years demand for palladium in autocatalysts has also shown a considerable growth in emerging countries that introduced new environmental regulations.

Platinum Market. Production and Consumption of Platinum

Platinum has multiple and essential applications while new uses for platinum are constantly developed. The largest consumer sector for platinum is the international jewelry industry. Platinum jewelry demand accounted for more than half of total platinum demand in 1999. This precious metal is highly valued for its beauty and purity together with its particular properties. Although in Europe and USA the normal purity is 95%, in certain countries the purity may be down to 85%. Platinum colour, strength, hardness and resistance to tarnish are some of the advantages of this metal in jewelry. It provides a secure setting for diamonds and other gemstones, enhancing their brilliance. Moreover, its flexibility is an important element for jewelry designers. Platinum jewelry is regarded as the precious metal for the "New Millenium".

Silver Market

Silvers extraordinary run over the last two and a half years has seen its price more than triple. Remarkably, this has occurred in spite of a notable expansion in mine supply and far more modest growth in fabrication demand. The principal explanation for why the price has nevertheless performed so strongly is the establishment of investment on the demand side of the equation. The sustained net disinvestment that characterized the market in the 1990s gave way first to a more neutral situation in 2001-03, with this, in turn, followed by more substantial net investment in 2004-05.

Zinc Market. Production, Consumption and Price

The zinc market is characterized by brief periods of high price that occur about once per decade. Although the market now seems to be steadier than at times in the past, the annual averages mask large daily fluctuations. For example the cash zinc price rose in 1997 by 68 percent--from $1,035 a tonne at the beginning of 1997 to a year's high of $1,740 a tonne, before subsiding again. Prices of zinc, along with those of most commodities, are of course controlled by supply-demand balances with speculative activity able to create short-term perturbations.