Original Research - Special Collection: Wars and pandemics economic and financial consequences

Metal price behaviour during recent crises: COVID-19 and the Russia–Ukraine conflict

Matthew van der Nest, Gary van Vuuren
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 16, No 1 | a819 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v16i1.819 | © 2023 Matthew van der Nest, Gary van Vuuren | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 August 2022 | Published: 31 January 2023

About the author(s)

Matthew van der Nest, School of Economics, Faculty of Commerce, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Gary van Vuuren, Centre for Business Mathematics and Informatics, Faculty of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


Orientation: Commodities are a prominent feature of the global economy. A substantial component of the income and welfare of both commodity-producing and commodity-consuming countries is highly dependent on the prices of commodities, such as metals. Metal prices are driven by economic growth and provide important insight into the state of the global economy: this behaviour is inextricably linked with the transitory shocks.

Research purpose: Understanding recent metal price behaviour provides information about the economic implications of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as well as the Russia–Ukraine conflict. This research engages with the notion of the ongoing upward swing of the post-2000 super-cycle in the metals market.

Motivation for the study: An analysis of metal price behaviour during COVID-19 and the Russia–Ukraine conflict describes the consequences of market shocks on commodity prices and examines the role played by super-cycles within metal markets. This work measures the optimal performances of portfolios comprising precious and nonprecious metals.

Research approach/design and method: Portfolio optimisation using Lagrangian calculus under various constraints. The article argues that transitory shocks from pandemics and conflicts have a positive relationship with risk–return profiles of relevant portfolios.

Main findings: A positive correlation was found between transitory shocks and prices of both precious and nonprecious metals. There is also evidence regarding the continuation of the post-2000 super-cycle in the metals market.

Practical/managerial implications: Better knowledge of these relationships allows commodity traders to confidently assert that metal commodities will deliver healthy returns at moderate risk levels during periods that are characterised by different transitory shocks. Metals exist and exhibit safe haven properties during periods governed by economic uncertainty.

Contribution/value add: Metals have exhibited strong economic performances in an economic landscape where little has flourished. This consequently affirms their importance and outlines their investment viability during volatile and uncertain periods.


Super-cycle; metal prices; COVID-19; Ukraine; efficient frontier


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Crossref Citations

1. Does geopolitical risk influence the commodity markets? Evidence from Vector error correction model
Samuel Asante Gyamerah, Henry Ofoe Agbi-Kaiser, Clement Asare, Nelson Dzupire
SSRN Electronic Journal  year: 2023  
doi: 10.2139/ssrn.4616803