As one bull market appears to be nearing its end, another may soon be on the horizon. Following years of underinvestment and tepid growth, raw materials in the form of copper, aluminum and nickel could be poised for a dramatic rebound.
The Next Bull Market?
Stocks, cryptocurrencies and even energy have taken the shine away from primary metals in recent years, but that could be about to change as investors look for new market-beating revenue streams. According to The Wall Street Journal, prices of copper, aluminum and nickel could rise more than 40% in the coming years as markets grapple with a severe supply crunch following a prolonged period of underinvestment.
This year, spending among global mining companies is expected to fall to less than a third of 2013 levels, when investment in new mines topped $121 billion. The year before, spending reached $144.05 billion, according to data from Wood Mackenzie. In 2018, total spend on new mining projects is expected to reach $35.4 billion. For many analysts, this means a major supply crunch is on the horizon.
On the demand side, the growth and widespread adoption of electric vehicles will only exacerbate the supply gap as manufacturers raise order books for copper and aluminum. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of electric vehicles on the road is forecast to reach 125 million by 2030 compared with just 3.1 million in 2017. The surge in electric vehicles also means higher demand for lithium and cobalt, two key components in electric-car batteries.
A growing global economy also playing into the hands of raw materials. Although the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is forecasting slower growth over the next two years, the downbeat view is largely tied to U.S.-China trade relations.