CONCLUSION

There has undoubtedly been a major element of speculative “froth” in the recent surge in base metal prices. Some major cable-makers have expressed serious dissatisfaction with the operation of metal markets, since they give space in which speculative investors can operate to the detriment of industry participants. Though volatility can be made worse by the actions of short-term investors, higher price levels seem likely to continue, as consumption in China and India continues to grow. The relatively high price of copper may make some users look to alternatives, but any switch is likely to be slow.