03 August 2006 | Paul Snell
Experts are warning that the price of copper and nickel will remain high over the next year.
Brian Levich, consultancy manager at Metal Bulletin Research, said: "This year prices will remain at strong levels. Next year might see a mild drop but it will only be a fall, not a crash."
As SM went to press, the price of copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was $7,461 per tonne and nickel was $27,035. This is a slight fall from mid-July when they stood at $8,232 and $29,500 respectively. But current prices are still above the June average of $7,194 and $20,739.
Simon Payton, secretary-general of the International Wrought Copper Council, said prices could rise further. "We've seen a peak in the price of copper, but perhaps not the peak."
Robin Bhar, base-metals strategist at banking group UBS, said the brunt of price rises would be felt by buyers. "Intermediaries can pass on costs, it is companies at the end of the chain - telecoms, power and automotive - who will have to stump up."
Lack of investment in exploration and mining, and natural disasters have affected supply.