23 October, 2008. The US dollar continues to strengthen against other currencies. As of this writing, $1.29 US will buy 1.00 Euros. Commodities are trending downward, metals in particular. Swept downward are copper, nickel, gold, platinum, and silver. Copper has fallen 55 % since cresting at $8940 per metric ton on July 2 of this year, dropping 17 % this week alone.

According to Bloomberg,

“Copper fell below $4,000 a metric ton in London for the first time since October 2005, and the Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 commodities touched its lowest level since February 2004. The Bloomberg World Mining Index of 162 companies lost $493 billion in value since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September deepened the financial crisis.” [italics by Gaussling]

The global copper picture is changing. China has promised to invest $900 million in Africa’s largest copper producing country- Zambia. According to Shapi Shacinda at Mineweb, China has been offering loans and grants to African countries without the western style strings attached. Shacinda says-

“Zambia says it has received pledges of about $4.3 billion in foreign direct investment in the eight months to August this year, the bulk of which is from Chinese firms.

Most of their cash is aimed for Zambia’s vast copper mines.

Zambia depends upon copper and its by-product cobalt for more than 65 percent of government revenues, and the nation, which is seen by analysts as “resource rich” but “infrastructure poor”, hopes that China can help unlock its wealth.”

Zambia is rich in base metals like copper as well as alluvial diamonds.