Latest update: 16 June

After months of decline, GDP estimates for many countries have turned positive.

Polls show that concern over the spread of Covid-19 is declining, while business optimism remains volatile.


The UK’s real GDP grew by 2.3% in April 2021, the fastest since July 2020, with the service sector growing by 3.4% during the month, as per ONS estimates.


According to the OECD, real GDP in G20 area grew by 0.8% in Q1 2021 when compared to the last quarter and reached pre-pandemic levels.

Impact of Covid-19 on employment outlook


Latest update: 3 June


ICE thermal coal prices improved significantly over May, reaching $118.9/t by the end of the month, compared with $90.75/t at the end of April and $61.75/t at the start of November 2020, helped by rising demand from China. China's aversion to buying coal from Australia is also leading to high price increases for lower quality coal from markets such as Indonesia.


After falling to a low point of $1,678 in March 2021, the gold price has steadily improved, passing $1,900/oz at the end of May and returning to levels seen in January 2021. An improving economic outlook had dampened prospects for a rise in the gold price, although they are being supported by continued low interest rates in 2021 and rising US inflation.


After reaching a high of $9,614.50/t in late February off the back of increasing demand and depleting inventories across the exchanges, the price of copper fell to $8,788.5/t by 30 March. However, the copper price rose over April and May, passing $10,000/t, and peaking at $10,725/t on 10 May.


Iron ore prices passed $200/t at the start of June as requirements for production cuts at Chinese mills are being eased. China is aiming to reduce its carbon footprint, with reduced steel output in 2021 to support this. However, to date, steel production has improved, with an output of 97.9Mt in April 2021, a YoY increase of 13.4%.


Growth in industrial demand helped push the price of platinum prices to a six-year high of $1,325/troy oz in February. Although it has subsequently fallen, it averaged close to $1,200/troy oz from March to May. In 2021, prices will be supported by improved demand from the auto and industrial sectors, although this will be balanced by significant growth in supply after the 2020 challenges.

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