A range of different factors influences the pricing of base metals.
There are strong parallels between global GDP growth rates and metal prices. Increased demand for industrial investment, new construction, more cars, improvements to transport and communication systems all create a requirement for mining commodities. But any slowdown in the global economy can have the opposite effect. Figure 9.17 shows that historically rich countries with higher GDP per capita tend to consume more metals, therefore the growth of GDP is one of the major price drivers.
Figure 9.17 Aggregate metal consumption and GDP per capita 1960–2009