Investor euphoria over positive COVID-19 vaccine news and the start of vaccination programs globally underpinned the continued rebound in metal markets in the final quarter of 2020. Although the gold price came off its August record high during the quarter, and concerns around the emergence of new, more transmissible COVID-19 variants put base metals prices under downward pressure in the final weeks of 2020, the mining sector closed the year in a strong position. The aggregate market value of the sector was $1.94 trillion at year-end, up 30% year over year and a spectacular 84% higher than the end-March low.
Rising prices for many commodities since late March have fueled a positive sentiment in the exploration sector, which remained vigorous in the final quarter. After hitting a nearly eight-year quarterly high in the September quarter, Market Intelligence's measure of exploration activity remained elevated through the final three months. Positive drilling trends, announcements of new gold and copper resources and strong equity markets for financing all factored into the favorable conditions for exploration. Combined, these factors imply that the fall in exploration budgets in 2020 will likely be reversed, as we expect to see continued strength in exploration in 2021.
As 2021 brings hope for an improved global macroeconomic outcome, join us to recap the December quarter and to obtain our views for the coming year.
2020 December quarter review
- Commodity price trends, drivers and estimates
- Drilling activity, exploration metrics and budgets
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Quarterly financing activity