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trend spotters

This open-pit gold mine belongs to Boro Gold mining Ltd. on the outskirts of Ulan Bator, shown on May 15, 2010.ZEEV ROZENBERG/Reuters

While gold is the more high-profile commodity that has disappointed investors with its recent slump in price, others are also worrying. But there may be some bright spots.

Like gold, many commodities have slumped in the past couple of years and there are mixed feelings about whether prices for oil and precious metals will manage to perform before mid-2014.

But global demand for raw materials from China is expected to increase and that, coupled with a recovering European economy, could be good news for commodities such as base metals, according to analysts.

Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities, says he will remain cautiously optimistic in the next year, particularly when it comes to zinc, palladium and platinum – used in industrial and automotive sectors.

"Overall, I think on average we're going to see a recovery in Europe," says Mr. Melek, adding that, as a result, consumers will be more confident in buying manufactured products, such as refrigerators, which require these metals.

For Mr. Melek, recent higher than expected U.S. employment rates "implies the United States is going to pick up as well, and we'll continue to see a strong trend in demand for automotive, for manufacturing, all those things that are very much big consumers of base metals."

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