You know it's grim when a sector's primary bull case involves bankruptcy.
Unfortunately for those in the base metals space, "that's the situation we find ourselves in," said Edward Meir, senior commodity analyst with INTL FCStone.
The just-concluded year of 2015 is one that base metals investors will desperately want to forget. Amid a dour environment for commodities overall, these industrial metals were among the hardest hit. Aluminum slid 11 percent, copper was down 24 percent, nickel dropped 42 percent, and precious-metal-with-industrial-uses platinum fell 26 percent. With that in mind, observers warn not to expect much in the way of a reprieve.
The twin problems for the space are a glut of supply and a dramatic slowing of demand, mostly due to a slowing Chinese economy — conditions that are unlikely to change merely because the calendar has turned.