22 DECEMBER 1939, Page 28


The market's sudden enthusiasm for copper, lead and zinc shares I find more difficult to understand. In raising the maximum prices of these non-ferrous metals to virtually the world level the Metal Control has sprung a surprise although it has recently been clear that some adjustment was desirable. From the producers' point of view, however, there is very little in the change because their agreements to sell to the Government at lower prices still stand. So far as one can see, the immediate benefits to the mining companies will be confined to the marketing of such portion of their output as is not covered by their arrangements with the Government. Whether, on the strength of this raising of prices, the companies will be able to renew their agree- ments next September on more favourable terms is another matter. Bargaining with the Government is, in these days, a procedure whose results it is quite impossible to predict and in any event September, 1940, is rather a long way off.

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