Palladium is the only metal whose price went up in 2018, marking +15.5% from January to December. In the last year, all the other metals decreased from -24.7% to -2.37%.
The palladium price has more than doubled in the last three years. The main push was the high demand for catalyst production in the automotive industry. The increase in demand is mainly due to the increasingly restrictive regulations for vehicle emissions, which require the use of new catalysts adapted to the regulations.
In 2018, the weakness in the prices of other metals had a common denominator: American politics. Trump triggered a series of measures that had negative consequences on the growth prospects of the global manufacturing sector. Thanks to the trade war with China, global growth forecasts have been declining. The largest exporting economies have been damaged by duties and by import limits imposed by the US administration.
Zinc and Lead prices were heavily influenced: they lost 24.71% and 20.09% respectively. The decreased price of Zinkwas characterized by a shortage in supply; Price of Zink is expected to go back up.
The price of Aluminium decreased by 16.62% in 2018. Aluminium prices had a peak of volatility in the last year. The American sanctions against the Russian company Rusal, one of the leading aluminium producers, have pushed prices up. When the sanctions were eliminated, prices collapsed reaching record low levels.
Copper was one of the metals that suffered the most from the trade war, due to the contraction of Chinese imports and the strengthening of the dollar. In 2018, copper lost 16.20%.
Nickel also lost value, despite the great interest derived from the electric vehicles production. In 2018, it lost 15.9%.
Precious metals such as Gold, Platinum and Silver didn’t escape the fall. The negative outlook on global economic growth could lead to a strengthening of the Gold, which has always been considered the main asset-shelter to protect itself from the possible dangers of an imminent recession.
In the last 8 years, the only metals whose prices increased were:
Palladium + 71.6%
Zinc + 2.9%.
While the metals that lost the most value were: