The metal markets are the source of the industry's current woes as the price of copper used in pipes and wiring advanced to fresh highs yesterday. Aluminium, used on building facades, and zinc, used to make corrugated iron, have also gained, driven by positive global demand expectations. The price of copper reached US$8,009.75 a tonne yesterday in early trading on the London Metal Exchange. "We remain bullish on copper, with the main reason being sturdy growth from the private sector in China," said Abah Ofon, a commodities analyst at Standard Chartered Bank. "Demand from the automotive sector has also been growing at a rapid pace."
Copper can also set the pace for other industrial metals such as nickel, which traded at $2,547 per tonne yesterday and zinc, which traded at $2,395. "All in all, we are bullish about base metals," said Mr Ofon. "This is mainly because China continues to consume at a brisk pace, and China accounts for about 30 per cent of global demand for base metals." Mr Ofon predicted a rise in the price of gold, which was selling at $1,125 yesterday. "The market has been holding up well through a period of dollar strength, which suggests that when we start to see the dollar weaken, then that could push gold prices up."