| March 25
LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Forecasts on 2013 base metals
prices by a consultancy focussed on economics, with a more
bearish view of prices than the consensus, beat predictions from
banks with teams of commodity analysts.
The estimates by Ross Strachan at Capital Economics at the
start of last year were well below the bullish figures of most
other analysts and ended up being much more accurate.
UBS (Xetra: UB0BL6 - news) , Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS - news) , Barclays (Berlin: BCY.BE - news)
and JRG Wealth Management also got top places for their more
downbeat expectations of metals prices last year, when stronger
supply and lacklustre global growth weighed on markets.
Strachan has since left the London-based research firm,
which mainly focuses on economic sectors, to join Thomson
Reuters GFMS, where he is looking at precious metals.
He was the top forecaster in zinc and nickel, based on
Reuters polling contributions, and came second and third in
copper and aluminium, respectively.
No other forecaster got more than two of the top-three
rankings among the six major base metals.
Strachan was the only forecaster to correctly predict the
scope of the 14.4 percent loss in the average price of nickel,
the worst performing base metal last year which was hit by a
glut of overproduction and surpluses.
In January, he forecast that the London Metal Exchange (LME)
cash price for nickel would average $15,250 per tonne
during the year, less than 2 percent off the actual result of
The second-best forecast was much higher at $17,000 a tonne,
and the median was $18,000.
UBS AGAIN BEARISH ON COPPER
The next-best forecasters were Swiss banks UBS and Credit
Suisse, each getting one top place and one second ranking.
UBS produced the best among 30 forecasts on the slide in
benchmark metal copper with a forecast of $7,496 a tonne, only
2.4 percent away from the actual outcome of $7,322 and well
below the more bullish median consensus of $8,119.
Most analysts had forecast that the copper market would flip
into surplus last year after a deficit in 2012, but still
thought the average price would manage to rise 2 percent instead
of shedding 8 percent.
In the latest poll, UBS is sticking with a bearish view for
copper, expecting a drop of 6.7 percent to $6,834 a tonne this
year and a further 6.5 percent to $6,393 in 2015.
"We continue to forecast the medium-term formation of a
refined copper surplus, weighing on the metal's price outlook,"
UBS said in a note.
Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) analyst Gayle Berry came tops in aluminium with her
forecast of $1,988 a tonne, which was 7.8 percent higher than
the outcome of $1,845 but still well below the median consensus
of $2,105. Berry's forecast was the only one that was under
Berry expects more downside in aluminium with a average
price of $1,850 this year, close to the median consensus of
Credit Suisse was top forecaster in tin, which was the
strongest performing metal last year with a 5.7 percent gain in
the average price.
The bank forecast tin would average $22,125 per tonne last
year, only 0.8 percent off the outcome of $22,297 and compared
with the median consensus of $23,800.
Credit Suisse expects more gains for tin this year for a 6
percent rise to $23,625 a tonne.
India's JRG Wealth Management was the best forecaster in
lead with its estimate of $2,170, 1.4 percent away from the
outcome of $2,141.
Below is a table of the top three forecasts in each of the
six main base metals. Where two institutions are listed for one
ranking, both had the same forecast.
Copper Aluminium Zinc Lead Nickel Tin
Average 7322 1845 1909 2141 15000 22297
First UBS Barclays Capital JRG Capital Credit
Economics Wealth Economics Suisse
7496 1988 1975 2170 15250 22125
Second Capital Credit RBC UBS Goldman CPM
Economics Suisse Macquarie Group
7600 2013 1984 2094 17000 22040
Third BNP Capital JRG Deutsche National Citi
Paribas Economics Wealth Australia
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