Metals Demand Growth to Slow to 5.5% in 2005

Bloomberg.com: Australia & New Zealand: “Demand for copper, aluminum and other base metals used in manufacturing and construction will rise by 5.5 percent next year, slowing from 2004 as global economic growth cools, Societe Generale said.

“London Metal Exchange prices will remain historically high well into next year,” London-based analyst Stephen Briggs said in the SG Commodities Research report. The LME is the world’s largest metals bourse, handling $2 trillion a year in trades.

Prices will fall about 5 percent after this year’s 40 percent gain, Briggs forecast. Copper last week closed at a 15-year high on the LME, aluminum reached a nine-year peak and lead climbed to a record. Demand for those metals, along with nickel, zinc and tin, will rise 6.5 percent this year, he said.

China’s growth in demand is slowing to 15 percent this year from 20 percent last year, Briggs said. China, the world’s largest user of copper and aluminum, will spend at least $560 billion on power plants and transmission lines by 2010, requiring 500,000 tons of copper, according to Ingrid Sternby, an analyst at Barclays Capital in London. “

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