The largest portion of the investment need at large, medium, and smal...
2021-04-16 2 ENGLISH REPORTS
Natural gas prices showed strong weather-induced seasonal volatility. Asian liquefed natural gas prices spiked to almost $40 per million British thermal units (MMBTU) in January 2021, spilling over to European prices (for example, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility price rose to $7.3 per MMBTU), while US Henry Hub spot prices reached $17.5 per MMBTU as a cold snap crippled shale gas output in Texas amid strong electricity demand in mid-February. High natural gas price volatility sustained the power sector’s demand for thermal coal. South African coal prices were also boosted by strong Indian steel and cement industry demand. Phaseout plans and rising emission costs continue to weigh on the demand outlook for coal over the medium term. Base Metal Prices Rallied on a Stronger Recovery in Industrial Production Base metal prices increased by 30 percent between August 2020 and February 2021.
The resurgent industrial activity in China and other advanced economies, coupled with optimism about US fscal stimulus, boosted sentiment toward metals. Te prices of copper and iron ore, heavily used in the construction and manufacturing sectors, increased by 30 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Te strong demand for electric vehicles also pushed up prices of metals, such as cobalt and nickel, that are used in their batteries. Precious metal prices decreased by 6 percent after reaching highs in August 2020 as demand for safe assets faded. Te IMF base metal price index is projected to increase by 32.1 percent in 2021 and decrease by 4.5 percent in 2022. Uncertainty over the speed of the global economic recovery and potential production and trade disruptions due to the pandemic are the main risks to the forecast (Figure 1.SF.1, panel 4). Precious metal prices are expected to increase by 6.0 percent in 2021 and by 0.4 percent in 2022 because monetary policies are expected to continue to be accommodative.
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