Morgan Stanley's top commodity picks and five miners to watch

Mon 12 Dec 22, 11:31am (AEST)
Mining exploration drill rig 3
Source: iStock

Key Points

  • Morgan Stanley sees a bumpy but generally positive near-term outlook for commodities
  • The investment bank has a preference for iron ore and aluminium
  • Preferred stock picks include South 32, Evolution Mining and more

Commodity markets are caught between the near-term optimism around China's reopening and what Morgan Stanley describes as an 'inevitable slowdown and calibration of recession risk'.

"For the commodities Australia is most levered to (Iron Ore, Oil, Copper, Aluminium and Gold), the risk reward still looks generally favorable based," said the investment bank said in a note on Sunday.

"... with our economists calling for rates to peak in early 2023, further weakness in the US dollar and a continued move towards a China reopening, macro tailwinds for commodities could be lining up."

Top commodity picks

Iron ore was at the top of Morgan Stanley's order of preference, with expectations of a "temporary 1H rally driven by a seasonal pick-up in steel production against weaker supply."

Its worth noting Singapore iron ore futures have rallied 46% since November.

Iron ore price versus iron ore miners
Iron ore (Orange) versus BHP (Blue), Fortescue (Green) and Rio Tinto (Orange)

Aluminium was viewed as another top pick following another deficit year as "rebounding energy prices drive supply struggles while China demand recovers."

Aluminium is trying to work its way back up to a four month high, up around 15% from September lows but still -13% year-to-date.

Aluminium spot price
Aluminium spot price (Source: TradingView)

"Gold and silver could still see downside initially as the last of the rate hikes come through, but the team see more upside into 2H."

Gold has enjoyed a 10% rally from its November lows, benefitting from Powell's comments that "time for moderating the pace of rate increases may come as soon as the December meeting."

Gold spot price chart
Gold spot price (Source: TradingView)

"They remain cautious copper, calling for prices to trough in mid-2023 as mine and supply grows, tipping the market into surplus," the analysts said.

Top five picks






South 32


Aluminium exposure could bolster FY23 earnings by 32-44%


Evolution Mining


"Modest consensus expectations for production/costs over next ~2-3yrs which could be bettered."


Whitehaven Coal


"1H23 thermal coal prices for cons/MSe ($310/t/$325/t) still below spot (~$410/t) – opportunity for upside to FY23."


Rio Tinto


"Potential for outperformance on better operations, conservative consensus estimates"


Newcrest Mining


"Our long-term gold preference; near-term growth catalysts and return to production growth."

Source: Morgan Stanley | Table: Market Index


Written By

Kerry Sun

Content Strategist

Kerry holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Monash University. He is an avid swing trader, focused on technical set ups and breakouts. Outside of writing and trading, Kerry is a big UFC fan, loves poker and training Muay Thai. Connect via LinkedIn or email.

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