Base Metals

DEFINITION of 'Base Metals'

Metals that oxidize, tarnish or corrode relatively easily when exposed to air or moisture. Base metals are widely used in commercial and industrial applications. They are more abundant in nature and therefore far cheaper than precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum. Base metals include aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, tin and zinc.

BREAKING DOWN 'Base Metals'

While the term "base metals" probably arose because these materials are inexpensive and more commonly found than "noble" metals such as gold and platinum, base metals are invaluable to the global economy because of their utility and ubiquity. Copper, a leading base metal, is often called the "metal with a Ph.D. in economics" because its widespread use makes its price very sensitive to global economic trends.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. What does it mean to invest in base metals?

    Learn what is means to invest in the base metals sector and how investors can take advantage of various investment strategies ... Read Answer >>
  2. What other precious metals are there beyond gold and silver?

    Discover the other, lesser-known precious metals such as platinum and palladium, which are more tied to the industrial economy ... Read Answer >>
  3. What countries represent the largest portion of the global metals and mining sector ...

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  4. How much does China's growth affect the price of industrial metals?

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  5. What are the main reasons an investor would look at the metals and mining sector?

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