Outlook for metals improves – Moody’s

13th September 2021 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

Credit rating business Moody's Investors Service’s outlook for the global metals and mining industry changed to stable from positive with high prices expected to fade out throughout 2022.

In a new report covering iron-ore, steel, coal, aluminium, gold, silver, nickel, copper and zinc, Moody's states that most prices will exceed historical marks.

Overall, demand for metals and mining is expected to remain robust throughout 2022.

"We expect industry's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation to increase by about 8% through mid-2022 based on economic recovery supporting demand for base metals, iron-ore, steel and coal," says Moody´s senior VP Barbara Mattos.

Most base metals prices show signs of steadying in 2022 after having reached historical peaks this year.

Among the main base metals, aluminium prices will remain elevated through at least mid-2022, and copper prices will remain strong through at least late 2022 compared with historical averages.

Iron-ore prices will move gradually toward their $70/t to $80/t average levels of 2016 to 2019 beyond 2022.

Tight iron-ore supplies will keep prices above their historical norms through 2022, but prices have retreated sharply from their peaks earlier this year as supplies have increased and demand growth decelerates, Moody's notes.

Coal prices will remain relatively high but will taper as supply problems and geopolitical disputes ease.

Meanwhile, the worldwide supply/demand imbalance for steel will return through 2022 with prices gradually declining toward their historical averages from the unusual highs of this year.

Demand will ebb as buyers replenish inventories, stimulus spending wanes and consumers return more widely to spending on experiences as vaccinations become more widespread, the report notes.

Steel supplies will continue to increase as well, with productivity improving and new capacity coming online in certain parts of the world.