Rough Diamond Prices Remain Under Pressure

Rough diamond prices will remain under pressure over the next 12-18 months. Prices dropped by about 18% during the first 11 months of 2015 due to slowing sales of diamond jewelry, according to Moody’s Investors Service. This latest drop in prices, which would be 28% below the 2014 peak, may be insufficient to revive demand, and the analysts said producers may have to cut costs (reduce prices) even more in 2016.

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Demand for Rare Earths Will Grow Steadily

Global demand for rare earths is forecast to increase 3.5% per year to 149,500 metric tons (mt) in 2019, valued at $4.5 billion. The largest increases are forecast for the permanent magnet segment, boosted by expanding production of advanced neodymium magnets for applications such as wind turbines and hybrid and electric vehicles (H/EVs). Rising output of nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries is also expected to fuel rare earths demand. In addition, upgrades to oil refining sectors in emerging countries are projected to boost global catalytic cracking capacity, supporting the production of fluid cracking catalysts, and associated demand for lanthanum and cerium. Rising production of steel, motor vehicles, and electronics is also expected to drive rare earths consumption. These and other trends are presented in World Rare Earths, a new study from the Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

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ILZSG Offers Lead and Zinc Forecasts

The International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) held its 60th session in Lisbon, Portugal, during October, which included a meeting of the group’s statistical and forecasting committee to review the current levels of world supply and demand for lead and zinc and the outlook for 2016. The ILZSG forecasts were prepared before Glencore’s announcement to cut zinc production by 500,000 metric tons (mt) and contained lead mine production by 100,000 mt (See Leading Developments, p. 5).

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