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The Effect of Inequality on the Transmission of Monetary and Fiscal Policy

Monetary policy can have a meaningful impact on inequality, as recent theoretical and empirical studies suggest. In light of this, how should policy be conducted? And how does inequality affect the transmission of monetary policy? These are the topics…

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Monetary policy can have a meaningful impact on inequality, as recent theoretical and empirical studies suggest. In light of this, how should policy be conducted? And how does inequality affect the transmission of monetary policy? These are the topics covered in the second part of the recent symposium on “Heterogeneity in Macroeconomics: Implications for Policy,” hosted by the new Applied Macroeconomics and Econometrics Center (AMEC) of the New York Fed on November 12.

Inequality and the Transmission of Monetary and Fiscal Policy

The first session in the afternoon (the agenda includes links to all of the presentations) asked what we have learned from the new literature on Heterogeneous Agent New Keynesian (HANK) models about the transmission and the efficacy of monetary policy. It also asked what we learned from the COVID-19 recession and the associated policy response on the impact of redistributive policy on aggregate demand and supply.

Greg Kaplan from the University of Chicago discussed lessons from the HANK literature regarding monetary policy and its ability to stabilize economic activity. One lesson is that stabilization policy may be harder than envisaged in models with a representative agent. In representative agent models monetary policy can rely on the intertemporal substitution channel—lowering interest rates induces households to consume. This channel is much weaker in HANK models, partly because these models recognize that a number of households have a hard time shifting consumption over time either because they have little wealth or because their wealth is illiquid. Instead, the main transmission channel of monetary policy in HANK models involves changing household disposable income—and in particular affecting income for households with higher marginal propensities to consume. But this often involves redistributing resources among individuals, where some win and others loose (for example, debtors versus creditors) from policy actions.  

This finding points to two further lessons for monetary policy. One is that the redistributive effects of policy can no longer be swept under the rug as is the case in representative agent models. The other is that the connection with fiscal policy is also front and center, since many of the consequences of monetary policy in these models involve public debt and the reaction of the fiscal authorities. A final lesson from HANK models, which ties in with the discussion in the first part of the symposium, is that the benefits from aggregate stabilization largely derive from alleviating the hardship of the most vulnerable households during recessions. From Kaplan’s perspective these four lessons suggest that monetary policy should focus less on fine-tuning aggregate demand and more on stabilizing inflation and enhancing the stability of the financial system.

Veronica Guerrieri from the Chicago Booth School of Business discussed monetary and fiscal policy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. She first highlighted the striking distributional impact of the pandemic recession, which hit some sectors (for example, leisure and hospitality) and some workers (for example, low-income workers) harder than others. As she shows in her recent paper with Lorenzoni, Straub, and Werning, the pandemic shock can be seen as a supply shock which propagated through the economy via demand channels. In particular, the income losses of workers with high marginal propensity to consume resulted in aggregate demand shortages for a while. Moreover, shocks in some sectors spread to other sectors because of complementarities and supply chains. This demand shortfall called for policy stimulus, and at the same time the asymmetric nature of the shock called for social insurance. To some extent, targeted fiscal transfers accomplished both goals.

Guerrieri then asked whether fiscal (and monetary) stimulus in the United States has been excessive, and whether the inflation that the U.S. is currently experiencing is the outcome of such stimulus. Again, she stressed that differences across households, and specifically the heterogenous savings behavior by income in response to the transfers, are key for understanding the effect of the stimulus on demand, both on impact and over time. She also emphasized the heterogeneity across sectors, with some sectors that have recovered well beyond their pre-pandemic levels and others that are still struggling. In another recent paper with Lorenzoni, Straub, and Werning, Guerrieri and coauthors argued that some of the inflation the U.S. is currently experiencing may be desirable as it helps adjust relative prices across sectors, thereby cooling some of the demand in the booming sectors and directing it toward the weaker ones. In fact, the stimulus may also help the reallocation of labor across sectors as it leads to more sustained wage increases in the strong sectors, which in turn attract workers, thereby lessening supply shortages.

In the discussion that followed the presentations, New York Fed President John Williams said that while he appreciated the insights from the HANK literature on the trade-offs faced by monetary policy, in the end the objective of monetary policymakers remains achieving the dual mandate of price stability and full employment with the tools at their disposal. Does the HANK literature have lessons in terms of which monetary tools (conventional interest rate policy, forward guidance, QE) are best suited to achieve the mandate? Both Kaplan and Guerrieri emphasized that an implication of heterogeneity is that fiscal policy is in many ways better suited than monetary policy to stabilize the economy, because it can be more precisely targeted toward different households.

Gianluca Violante of Princeton University agreed on this point and wondered why fiscal policy is seemingly conducted in a much less sophisticated and thoughtful way than monetary policy. He hinted that one reason may be political economy considerations—the need to achieve compromise—but another reason could be the moral hazard inherent with transfer-based policies. He argued that the willingness of fiscal authorities to act effectively during COVID may be due to the fact that moral hazard was largely absent in these circumstances. St. Louis Fed President Jim Bullard highlighted that if either fiscal or monetary policy are not doing their job in terms of stabilizing the economy, this may limit the effectiveness of the other.

Heterogeneity and Optimal Monetary Policy

The second afternoon session discussed how heterogeneity should affect the design of optimal policy. Adrien Auclert from Stanford began by noting that the normative HANK literature is still in its infancy, relative to the positive literature. He outlined two key outstanding issues. The first issue is that while the New Keynesian (NK) literature is organized around a single tractable “textbook” model and a set of agreed upon methods for solving and estimating quantitative models, no such consensus exists in the HANK literature. But progress has been made: we have a number of tractable HANK models that can be used to understand positive and normative aspects of HANK economies, and we are closer to having efficient tools for solving and estimating HANK models.

The second issue concerns what objective function policymakers should optimize in our normative models. In the canonical NK model, under certain conditions, maximizing household welfare is equivalent to minimizing an “ad hoc” loss function which penalizes deviations of the output gap and inflation from their targets. This equivalence was an important factor in the success of the NK literature, since policymakers already viewed their objective in terms of a simple ad hoc loss function. But when it comes to the HANK literature, there is generally no simple, microfounded loss function that plays the same role.

One approach is to continue to use an ad hoc loss function to analyze optimal policy in HANK. Although this approach is straightforward, it may miss out on important forces within the model and provides no guidance on which measures of inequality, if any, should be incorporated in the policymaker’s objective function. A more technically challenging approach is to solve for policy that maximizes household welfare within a HANK model. In Auclert’s view, the literature that does this has uncovered some findings that should generalize (for example, optimal policy tries to undo the redistributive effects of aggregate shocks), but it is less clear whether other specific findings from particular papers will generalize (some studies find that policy should put more weight on stabilizing the level of output to stabilize consumption inequality, while others find that price stability remains the dominant concern).

Michael Woodford from Columbia University discussed another dimension of heterogeneity, namely heterogeneity of expectations. He argued that while this dimension has been relatively less studied—presumably because it requires relaxing the conventional assumption of rational expectations—it is worth incorporating into our models, both because it is clearly present in survey data, and because algorithmic models of expectation formation can be more tractable than models with model-consistent expectations. Woodford outlined one approach to modelling heterogeneous beliefs based on his work with Yinxi Xie. This approach assumes that households and firms make decisions based on looking forward over a finite planning horizon, implying that heterogeneity of beliefs arises from differences in their planning horizons. In Woodford’s model, this nests fully rational expectations as a limiting special case (when all agents have infinite horizons). An important implication of belief heterogeneity for policymakers is that the same policy announcement will lead different decisionmakers to expect different paths of policy tools and other macroeconomic variables, since some of them put a lot of weight on far future outcomes while others have much shorter planning horizons. Another implication is that policy should depart from fully stabilizing output gaps and inflation in order to reduce distortions arising due to heterogeneity in beliefs.

In the following discussion, Williams emphasized that, while we know heterogeneity is important, and each heterogeneous-agent model has its own particular implications for optimal policy, it will be important to learn which conclusions are robust across these different models.  Woodford agreed with Williams (and with Kaplan’s earlier remarks) that it would be too early to follow the policy conclusions from any one paper, but argued that we can still say something about which conclusions are likely to be robust. We can learn which variables in our models have the properties that expectations about those variables have a particularly large effect on outcomes; we should then want to keep those variables stable, so that they are easy for agents to forecast, regardless of how precisely they do that. Kaplan noted that economists generally do not make their models more realistic simply for the sake of realism, but to match some feature of the data that existing models cannot; he wondered what empirical puzzle belief heterogeneity solves. Woodford suggested that finite planning horizons may offer one solution to the “forward guidance puzzle.”

Bullard emphasized the advantage of building on tractable models (for example, lifecycle models with within-cohort heterogeneity), which avoid some of the technical problems Auclert mentioned, but can still match important features of the data. Auclert agreed that simple models are useful to study particular forces (for example, countercyclical movements in the price level can provide insurance to households with nominal debt), but argued that richer models are useful to trade these off against other important forces (for example, in the presence of nominal wage rigidity, countercyclical inflation may have less favorable effects on the distribution of real resources).

In sum, the upshot from the symposium is that taking heterogeneity into account is crucial for policy, both because its effect differs across households—not only fiscal but also monetary policy can significantly affect inequality—and because heterogeneity changes the way we understand how fiscal and monetary policy are transmitted to the economy.

Marco Del Negro is a vice president in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

Keshav Dogra is a senior economist in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Laura Pilossoph is a senior economist in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.


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Zinc Outlook 2022: Analysts Expect Small Refined Deficit

Click here to read the previous zinc outlook. After an uncertain 2020, zinc rose steadily in 2021, hitting a 14 year high in the second half of the year.The power crisis and increasing demand for the base metal as strict COVID-19-related lockdown restrict

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Click here to read the previous zinc outlook.

After an uncertain 2020, zinc rose steadily in 2021, hitting a 14 year high in the second half of the year.

The power crisis and increasing demand for the base metal as strict COVID-19-related lockdown restrictions were lifted supported prices for zinc during the 12 month period.

As the new year begins, the Investing News Network (INN) caught up with analysts to find out what’s ahead for zinc supply, demand and prices. Read on to learn what they had to say.


Zinc outlook 2022: 2021 in review


Zinc prices kicked off 2021 above the US$2,800 per tonne mark after rallying for most of the second half of 2020. A recovery in the steel sector helped the base metal throughout the first half of 2021 as COVID-19 lockdown measures eased, supporting demand for zinc.

Commenting on the main trends seen in the market in 2021, Helen O’Cleary of CRU Group told INN zinc’s demand recovery was stronger than expected in the US and Europe, but lagged in Asia excluding China.

In October, zinc prices hit their highest level in 14 years, hovering around the US$3,800 mark on the back of the power crisis and costs associated with carbon emissions.

“Zinc’s price outperformed expectations in 2021 on the back of strong demand and smelter disruption, particularly in Q4, when European smelters started to cut back due to record high energy prices,” O’Cleary said.

One of the world’s top zinc smelters, Nyrstar (EBR:NYR), said back in October that it was planning to cut production at its European smelter operations. Mining giant Glencore (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) also said it was adjusting production to reduce exposure to peak power pricing periods during the day.

Speaking with INN, Carlos Sanchez of CPM Group said zinc has been in recovery since prices bottomed out in 2020, helped in part by vaccination efforts globally and also by supply disruptions around the world.

“The most recent issue is the concern about high energy input costs into smelters in Europe — that's been pushing prices higher recently,” he said. Even though prices could not sustain that level until the end of the year, zinc remained above US$3,500 on the last trading day of 2021.

Zinc outlook 2022: Supply and demand


As mentioned, demand for base metals took an upward turn in 2021 as the world economy recovered on the back of stimulus plans and as vaccination rollouts took place in many parts of the world.

Looking at what’s ahead for zinc demand in 2022, CRU is expecting Chinese demand growth to slow to 1.1 percent year-on-year as the effects of stimulus wane.

“In the world ex-China we expect demand to grow by 2.4 percent, with the ongoing auto sector recovery partially offsetting the construction sector slowdown in Europe and the US,” O’Cleary said.

CPM is also expecting zinc demand to remain healthy in 2022, both inside and outside of China, including demand from developing countries. “One thing that remains uncertain is what will happen with COVID,” Sanchez said.

Moving onto the supply side of the picture, the analyst expects that if everything remains status quo, disruptions are unlikely to happen.

“There are going to be some blips here and there, but there have been some labor issues in Peru; yes, there's been some energy problems in Europe and China, but that's a fact in zinc output and in demand to an extent,” Sanchez said. “But really the catalyst that we don't know, and how it can affect prices, is how COVID will impact industries.”

For her part, O’Cleary is expecting most disruptions to happen in the first quarter, with CRU currently having a disruption allowance of 55,000 tonnes for that period.

“But this may well tip over into Q2,” she said. CRU is expecting mine supply to grow by 5.1 percent year-on-year in 2022, and for the concentrates market to register a 190,000 tonne surplus.

Meanwhile, smelter output is forecast to grow by less than 1 percent year-on-year in 2022, according to the firm, which is currently forecasting a small refined zinc deficit in 2022.

“Should smelter disruption exceed our 55,000 tonne allowance the deficit could grow,” O’Cleary said. “But high prices and a tight Chinese market could lead to further releases of refined zinc from the State Reserve Bureau stockpile, which could push the market towards balance or even a small surplus.”

Similarly, CPM is expecting the market to shift into a deficit in 2022. “That's due to the strong demand, recovering economies of COVID and its financial economic effects,” Sanchez said.

Zinc outlook 2022: What’s ahead


Commenting on how zinc might perform next year, O’Cleary said prices are likely to remain high in Q1 due to the threat of further energy-related cutbacks in Europe during the winter heating season.

O’Cleary suggested investors keep an eye on high prices and inflation, as they could hamper zinc demand growth.

Similarly, CPM expects prices to stay above current levels and to average around US$3,400 for the year. “I wouldn't be surprised to see zinc top US$4,000,” Sanchez said. “But at the same time, I don't think it holds above there; you'd have to have really strong fundamentals for that to happen, stronger than what's happening now.”

The CPM director suggested zinc investors should keep an eye on COVID-19 developments and be quick movers, taking a position whether it's short or long.

Looking ahead, FocusEconomics analysts see prices for zinc cooling markedly next year before falling further in 2023, as output gradually improves and new mines come online.

“Moreover, fading logistical disruptions and easing energy prices will exert additional downward pressure, although solid demand for steel will continue to support prices,” they said in their December report, adding that pandemic-related uncertainty is clouding the zinc outlook.

Panelists recently polled by the firm see prices averaging US$2,827 in Q4 2022, and US$2,651 in Q4 2023.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates.

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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Dr. Peter McCullough: Official COVID “Narrative Has Crumbled”

Dr. Peter McCullough: Official COVID "Narrative Has Crumbled"

Authored by Art Moore via WND.com,

Dr. Peter McCullough – a renowned cardiologist and highly published medical scientist whose confrontation of the government’s COVID-19 policies.

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Dr. Peter McCullough: Official COVID "Narrative Has Crumbled"

Authored by Art Moore via WND.com,

Dr. Peter McCullough – a renowned cardiologist and highly published medical scientist whose confrontation of the government's COVID-19 policies has drawn more than 40 million views on Joe Rogan's podcast – told WND in a video interview Thursday night the official pandemic narrative that has been fiercely guarded by establishment media and social-media censors is "completely crumbling."

That narrative, he said, included "false statements regarding asymptomatic spread, reliance on lockdown and masks – which obviously didn't work – the suppression of early treatment, the mass promotion of vaccines that failed."

"And now here we are, almost in complete free fall," McCullough said, referring to the record number of COVID-19 cases as officials acknowledge the vaccines don't prevent infection or transmission.

McCullough noted that in California, with the more contagious but much milder omicron variant now dominant, health care workers who tested positive for COVID-19 and had symptoms were told to go back to work.

"With that, I think that's it. I think that's the end. The narrative has crumbled. People don't want these vaccines," McCullough said.

"The vaccines should be pulled off the market. They clearly are not solving the problem."

The focus, he said, should be on "treating high-risk patients who develop symptoms" with some of the early treatments that he and other physicians around the world have found to be effective, including ivermectin and a new drug granted emergency use authorization by the FDA, Paxlovid.

McCullough cited a study from Denmark and data from the U.K.'s health agency showing that the vaccines have zero effectiveness against omicron.

Completing this poll entitles you to WND news updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

"That's not misinformation," he said. "I'm just quoting the data. All of this can be looked up. Fact-checkers can look at it. I know I'll never have any problems with allegations of misinformation, because I just quote the data."

President Biden clearly had McCullough in mind when on Thursday he urged social media companies and media outlets to "please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that's on your shows. It has to stop."

McCullough pointed out his work has been relied upon by courts across the nation, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and he has testified to the U.S. Senate and will be back there later this month.

"I think America knows who is giving them the straight story."

In the half-hour video interview with WND (embedded below), McCullough also discussed:

  • The punishment of physicians who counter the official COVID narrative and use clinically indicated, FDA-approved drugs off-label such as ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients, including a colleague in Maine whose was ordered to undergo a psychological examination after her license was suspended;

  • His participation in a rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23 protesting vaccine mandates;

  • The Supreme Court's rulings Thursday on vaccine mandates;

  • The possibility that omicron could spell the end of the pandemic, serving as a "universal booster";

  • Data showing that vaccination has backfired, making the pandemic worse in nations with high vaccine intake;

  • The lethality of the mRNA vaccines;

  • His view on Biden's mass testing program;

  • His take on new FDA-approved treatments and his simple, inexpensive, over-the-counter protocol for treating omicron;

  • The unwillingness of so many doctors to "come off the sidelines" and treat patients for COVID-19;

  • The "crisis of competence" among top government health officials;

  • Where to find resources and support for physicians and patients, and for employees confronting mandates.

"I think Americans are going to understand that their individual choice is really what's going to matter in the end," he McCullough told WND in conclusion. "If Americans decide that they're not going to take any boosters or any more vaccines, it doesn't matter how many mandates or how many court decisions that happen. The vaccine program is going to crumble. I think it's just a matter of saying no."

He emphasized that the vaccines are still "research."

"No one can be forced into it," he said of vaccination. "And they're not turning out to be safe or effective. So, if  everybody just stands firm and declines the vaccines, I think that will be the quickest way for us to get out of this."

See the WND interview with Dr. Peter McCullough:

McCullough, in a video interview with WND in December, called for a "pivot" from the current policies to early treatment and "compassionate care" for those who have COVID or have suffered vaccine injuries, which have included myocarditis, neurological issues and blood clotting.

"Now is the time for doctors to step up. Now is not a time for rhetoric or harsh statements regarding scientific discourse," he said.

Many of McCullough's 600 peer-reviewed publications have appeared in top-tier journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet. He testified to the U.S. Senate in November 2020 against what he described as the federal government's politicization of health care during the pandemic, curbing or blocking the availability of cheap, effective treatments. In a speech in September, he told of having been stripped of the editorship of a Swiss-based journal after having lost his position with a major health system, "with no explanation and no due process." Baylor University Medical Center fired him in February. And Texas A&M College of Medicine, Texas Christian University and University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine have cut ties with McCullough, accusing him of spreading misinformation.

"I've been stripped of every title that I've ever had in that institution. I've received a threat letter from the American College of Physicians, [and] a threat letter from the American Board," he said in September.

All because of his "lawful" participation "in a topic of public importance."

He said there are "powerful forces at work, far more powerful than we can possibly think of, that are influencing anybody who is in a position of authority."

McCullough is the chief medical adviser for the Truth for Health Foundation, a physician-founded charity that says it is "dedicated to following the Oath of Hippocrates to serve individual patients to the best of our ability and judgement and to uphold the highest standards of medical ethics."

*  *  *

Last year, America's doctors, nurses and paramedics were celebrated as frontline heroes battling a fearsome new pandemic. Today, under Joe Biden, tens of thousands of these same heroes are denounced as rebels, conspiracy theorists, extremists and potential terrorists. Along with massive numbers of police, firemen, Border Patrol agents, Navy SEALs, pilots, air-traffic controllers, and countless other truly essential Americans, they're all considered so dangerous as to merit termination, their professional and personal lives turned upside down due to their decision not to be injected with the experimental COVID vaccines. Biden’s tyrannical mandate threatens to cripple American society – from law enforcement to airlines to commercial supply chains to hospitals. It's already happening. But the good news is that huge numbers of "yesterday’s heroes" are now fighting back – bravely and boldly. The whole epic showdown is laid out as never before in the sensational October issue of WND's monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled "THE GREAT AMERICAN REBELLION: 'We will not comply!' COVID-19 power grab ignites bold new era of national defiance."

SUPPORT TRUTHFUL JOURNALISM. MAKE A DONATION TO THE NONPROFIT WND NEWS CENTER. THANK YOU!

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/17/2022 - 23:50

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Zinc Outlook 2022: Small Refined Zinc Deficit Ahead

Click here to read the previous zinc outlook. Following an uncertain 2020, zinc prices steadily rose throughout 2021 to hit a 14 year high in the second half of the year.The power crisis and an increasing demand for the base metal as the strict lockdown..

Published

on



Click here to read the previous zinc outlook.

Following an uncertain 2020, zinc prices steadily rose throughout 2021 to hit a 14 year high in the second half of the year.

The power crisis and an increasing demand for the base metal as the strict lockdown restrictions were lifted supported prices during the 12 month period.

As the new year begins, the Investing News Network (INN) caught up with analysts to find out what’s ahead for zinc supply, demand and prices.


Zinc outlook 2022: 2021 in review


Prices kicked off the year above the US$2,800 per tonne mark after rallying for most of the second half of 2020. The recovery in the steel sector helped the base metal throughout the first half of 2021 as COVID-19 lockdown measures eased, supporting demand for zinc.

Commenting on the main trends seen in the market in 2021, Helen O’Cleary of CRU Group told INN zinc’s demand recovery was stronger than expected in the US and Europe but lagged in Asia excluding China.

In October, zinc prices hit their highest level in 14 years, hovering around the US$3,800 mark on the back of the power crisis and cost associated with carbon emissions.

“Zinc’s price outperformed expectations in 2021 on the back of strong demand and smelter disruption, particularly in Q4 when European smelters started to cut back due to record high energy prices,” O’Cleary said.

One of the world’s top zinc smelters, Nyrstar (EBR:NYR), said in October it was planning to cut production at its European smelter operations. Mining giant Glencore (LSE:GLEN) also said it was adjusting production to reduce exposure to peak power pricing periods during the day.

Speaking with INN about zinc’s performance, Carlos Sanchez of CPM Group said zinc has been in recovery since prices bottomed out in 2020, helped in part by vaccination globally and also by supply disruptions around the world.

“The most recent issue is the concern about high energy input costs into smelters in Europe — that's been pushing prices higher recently,” he said.

Even though prices could not sustain that level until the end of the year, prices remained above US$3,500 on the last trading day of 2021.

Zinc outlook 2022: Supply and demand


As mentioned, demand for base metals saw an upward turn in 2021 as the world economy recovered on the back of stimulus plans and as vaccination rollouts took place in many parts of the world.

Looking at what’s ahead for demand in 2022, CRU is expecting Chinese demand growth to slow to 1.1 percent year-on-year as the effects of stimulus wane.

“In the world ex. China we expect demand to grow by 2.4 percent, with the ongoing auto sector recovery partially offsetting the construction sector slowdown in Europe and the US,” O’Cleary said.

CPM is also expecting demand to remain healthy in 2022, both in China and outside of China, including demand from developing countries.

“One thing that remains uncertain is what will happen with COVID,” Sanchez said.

Moving onto the supply side of the picture, the analyst expects that if everything remains status quo, disruptions are unlikely to happen.

“There are going to be some blips here and there, but there have been some labor issues in Peru, yes, there's been some energy problems in Europe and China, but that's a fact in zinc output and in demand to an extent,” Sanchez said. “But really the catalysts that we don't know, and how it can affect prices is how COVID will impact industries.”

For her part, O’Cleary is expecting most disruptions in Q1, with CRU currently having a disruption allowance of 55,000 tonnes for that period.

“But this may well tip over into Q2,” she said. CRU is expecting mine supply to grow by 5.10 percent year-on-year in 2022 and for the concentrates market to register a 190,000 tonnes surplus.

Meanwhile, smelter output is forecast to grow by less than 1 percent year-on-year in 2022, according to the firm, which is currently forecasting a small refined zinc deficit in 2022.

“Should smelter disruption exceed our 55,000 t allowance the deficit could grow,” O’Cleary said. “But high prices and a tight Chinese market could lead to further releases of refined zinc from the State Reserves Bureau stockpile, which could push the market towards balance or even a small surplus.”

Similarly, CPM Group is also expecting the market to shift into a deficit in 2022.

“That's due to the strong demand, recovering economies of COVID and its financial economic effects,” Sanchez said.

Zinc outlook 2022: What’s ahead


Commenting on how prices might perform next year, O’Cleary said prices are likely to remain high in Q1 due to the threat of further energy-related cutbacks in Europe during the winter heating season.

O’Cleary suggested investors to keep an eye on high prices and inflation, as these factors could hamper zinc demand growth.

Similarly, CPM Group is expecting prices to remain above current levels and to average around US$3,400 for the year.

“I wouldn't be surprised to see zinc top US$4,000,” Sanchez said. “But at the same time, I don't think it holds above there; you'd have to have really strong fundamentals for that to happen, stronger than what's happening now.”

The CPM director suggested zinc investors should keep an eye on COVID developments and be quick movers, taking a position whether it's short or long.

Looking ahead, for FocusEconomics analysts, prices for zinc are seen cooling markedly next year before falling further in 2023, as output gradually improves and new mines come online.

“Moreover, fading logistical disruptions and easing energy prices will exert additional downward pressure, although solid demand for steel will continue to support prices,” they said in their December report, adding that pandemic-related uncertainty clouds the outlook.

Panelists recently polled by the firm see prices averaging US$2,827 per metric tonne in Q4 2022 and US$2,651 per metric tonne in Q4 2023.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates.

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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