The base metals usually refer to industrial non-ferrous metals, mainly copper, lead, nickel, zinc, and tin. In addition to copper, all base metals react with hydrochloric acid to form hydrogen. Because of their ease of extraction and large quantities, they are much less expensive than precious metals. The contracts for copper, lead, nickel and zinc are traded on the London Metal Exchange.
The base metal is used for various applications from the electric wire (copper) to the battery (lead), as well as to reinforce and harden the metal alloy (nickel), and to coat and protect active metals such as iron (nickel and zinc).
The base metals are non-ferrous metals, meaning they do not contain iron. There are multiple exchanges around the world providing these metal contracts, but the International Trade Center is the London Metal Exchange (LME). The LME is the world’s largest producer and consumer exchange. Its contracts are tailor-made for the industry. Market participants can deliver goods within one working day of the year according to their personal hedging requirements.
The base metal is the cornerstone of society. Price trends often indicate that the global economy has grown or contracted. Therefore, this commodity market department can have a deep understanding of the economic trends around the world. For decades, due to the country’s economic growth, China has been the most important consumer of the basic metal market. However, the slowdown in China’s economy in 2015 caused many of these metals to decline in the second half of 2015 and early 2016.
At the end of 2016, one of the issues in the US presidential election was to rebuild the country’s infrastructure. Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the country and has a background in the construction of the real estate industry. The new president promised to become an architect nationwide. The last major US infrastructure project was the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s. It is likely that major repairs to roads, bridges and transport hubs such as airports and train stations will be the main objectives of the Trump administration. In response to the election of the new president and his platform, the rise in the prices of many industrial commodities (including base metals) is impressive. Each base metal has its own characteristics and uses.
Copper is an economic chain of goods. The world’s major copper producer is the South American country, Chile. The biggest consumer is China. Copper has many useful qualities. It does not corrode and is an electric superconductor. Buildings, plumbing, refrigeration, air conditioning, cooking utensils, computers, and even some medicines require copper. The main alloy of metal is brass, which can be used to produce musical instruments, building materials, jewelry and some art objects. The copper trading center is the LME, but the COMEX division of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) offers a standard futures contract for red metals. The copper ETN product traded on the New York Stock Exchange is the iPath Bloomberg Copper Sub TR ETN- Symbol JJC.
Aluminum is probably the softest base metal and it has the largest volume of transactions on the LME. Aluminum is the third largest element in the earth’s crust. The world’s leading aluminum producer and consumer is China. Russia and the United States are also major producers. Aluminum is a versatile and lightweight metal. It has countless uses in cars, motorcycles, aircraft parts, license plates, roofs, and sinks. Aluminum is also a key component of window frames, paints, cans, plates, foils, bottle caps, gum and candy wrappers, light bulbs, cell phones and power cords, sports equipment, food additives, and even aspirin and many other consumer and construction products. . LME offers aluminum and aluminum alloy forward contracts. The ETN ETN product listed on the New York Stock Exchange is the iPath Bloomberg Aluminum Sub TR ETN- Symbol JJU.
Nickel is a silvery white and shiny metal with a slight golden luster. It is one of the least mobile metals traded on the LME. The price of nickel may fluctuate very much. One of the main characteristics of nickel is corrosion resistance. Nickel is a metal for iron and brass. Nickel is ferromagnetic, whereas strong magnets require iron and rare earth metals, and medium strength magnets use nickel. Nickel is also an integral part of coin making, glass, rechargeable batteries and some bulletproof safes. The world’s largest producers are China and Russia, but Japan, Canada, Australia and Norway also produce metals. Cuba is a producer of nickel. Due to infrastructure construction projects, China has been the world’s major consumer of nickel ore for decades. Highly fluctuating nickel prices often lead to supply shortages and surpluses between metals, leading to swing prices between the chain and retreat. LME is the center of international nickel trading. The nickel ETN product listed on the New York Stock Exchange is the iPath Bloomberg Nickel Sub TR ETN- Symbol JJN.
One of the earliest metals discovered by humans was lead. In Turkey, the statue of lead continued until 6500 BC. Lead is used for many purposes, including pipes, bathtub linings, cosmetics and paint, and even food and wine barrels. The single leading use of lead today is to make batteries, but metals are also used in the construction of some alloys and nuclear reactors. Some art paints and some types of ammunition still contain lead. Lead is an integral part of gasoline production for many years because metal prevents engine knock. However, many countries including the United States today prohibit fuel fuels. The world’s largest lead producers are China, Australia, Peru, the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the refining process, lead concentrates produce a small percentage of gold and silver to produce metal. Lead is a metal that is actively traded on the LME. The ETN product traded on the New York Stock Exchange is the iPath Bloomberg Lead Sub TR ETN-Symbol LD.
Zinc is the third most active metal on LME after aluminum and copper. For centuries before the discovery of zinc as a metal, zinc and zinc compounds were required for brass and zinc compounds, many of which are still found in pharmaceuticals used to relieve wounds and eye pain. The main use of zinc is galvanized steel as anti-corrosion. Zinc is also an important metal in the die-casting industry and is used for rolling zinc in the production of trenches, roofs, pipes, coinage and compounds. China is the world’s leading producer, and Peru, Australia, the United States, Canada, and India also provide the world with a large amount of metal production each year. China is a major consumer of zinc because of the country’s large population and the demand for infrastructure. There is no specific zinc-zinc ETN product in the United States, but the PowerShares DB base metal ETF symbol DBB includes zinc and other base metals traded on the London Metal Exchange.
Tin is one of the oldest metals known to man. It is the least mobile or thin traded metal on the LME. Tin’s lack of liquidity has led to huge price fluctuations and periods of shortages and soaring. When it comes to the tin market, it may be either a feast or a famine each year. Plating requires the application of copper, aluminum, steel or other metal tin. Tin has many home applications. We find tin in many drug solutions, capacitors in electrodes, fuses, ammunition, fungicides and pesticides, solders and solder pastes. Even toothpaste requires tin fluoride as a key manufacturing component. China is the world’s largest producer of tin, but Indonesia, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil are also important suppliers of metals in the world. The second largest tin reserve in the world comes from Malaysia; Penang is the center of tin mining and refining operations. Tin is a non-toxic metal. Therefore, in recent decades, it has replaced lead and other toxic elements in the manufacture of many commodities, including electronics and ammunition. China is the world’s leading consumer nation, but the United States, Japan, and Russia are both important importers of metals. The Tin ETN product listed on the New York Stock Exchange is the iPath Bloomberg Tin Sub TR ETN- Symbol JJT.
Source: China Pipe Fittings Manufacturer – Yaang Pipe Industry Co., Limited (www.yaang.com)