Policy announcements and the release of economic indicators continued to drive metals price volatility during the September quarter of 2023. Industrial metals market participants faced contrasting outlooks for key economies, with uncertainty over demand from China and Europe tempered by outperformance in the US. Towards the end of the quarter, the strength of the US jobs market contributed to the US Federal Reserve's hawkish commentary following September's interest rate pause, noting that higher-for-longer interest rates might be required to reduce inflation. Bearish market sentiment quickly emerged, leading to a sharp retreat for gold prices and increased concerns that metals demand could underperform in 2024, should the higher interest rates persist longer than previously forecast. The first weeks of the December quarter brought further global uncertainty with the outbreak of the Israeli war with Hamas in Gaza.
Exploration activity continued to slow in the quarter, as weaker metals prices and equity market support hampered their ability to secure funding and expand programs. While drilling levels stayed relatively flat quarter over quarter, the number of financings, positive project milestones, and new initial resource announcements fell. These trends align closely with our exploration budget trends for 2023, which saw a modest 3% decline year over year, attributable mostly to weaker gold-focused efforts and the softening activity by the junior group.
Join our analysts as we provide a recap of the September 2023 quarter and obtain our views for the remainder of the year and beyond.
- Commodity price trends, drivers and estimates
- Mergers and acquisitions, mining financing
- Exploration and development metrics