Zinc rallies after months of mine closures

The zinc rally is set to continue in strength with open interest, a total of outstanding contracts in zinc on the London Metal Exchange, reaching its highest since October.

After falling almost 30 per cent in 2015, the zinc price succumbed to further selling pressure in mid-January when it hit a six and half year low of $1 444.50 tonne as weak demand and high inventory levels weighed on the market.

Now the metal has experienced a complete turnaround, increasing 41 per cent this year, providing the best return for investors after silver. Its price has surged as mine-output cuts such as those at Glencore, actively reduced supply through mine closures and production cuts.

Peter Thomas, senior vice president at metals broker group Zaner Group, said “You see swelling open interest, you see reserves going down and you’ve got yourself a bull market,” in a report by the AFR.

“The numbers have just been very, very bullish for zinc.” 

In three months, the metal for delivery jumped 0.4 per cent to $US2275 a metric tonne, after reaching $US2299, the highest rate since May last year.

There have also been positive undercurrents on the metal at Diggers & Dealers this week, with many an after-event discussion focusing on the likely forward movements of the metal later this year.

However, not every metal has performed as well.

Copper reached $US4959 earlier this week following its Monday’s price of $US4965.

Nickel also dropped to $US10,725, after initially surging when Phillipine President Rodrigo Duterte asked companies to uphold environmental obligations or shut down. So far, six miners, accounting for eight per cent of production in 2015, have ceased operations.

Edward Meir, analyst at INTL FCStone in New York, said, ”Despite all the tough talk, we doubt the Philippines will go the way of Indonesia and risk ceding a whole sector considering that mining pumps roughly $US1 billion into the economy and does so with a far smaller footprint in terms of land-use versus other regional rivals.”