After the recovery in January, February delivered a virtually unchanged result (-0.06%). This was in line with our benchmarks and most of our peers. The DOW and AEX continued their upward trend in February. The base metals also showed a recovery, as the zinc price rose 3%, copper 6% and nickel 5%, while the precious metals remained mostly flat. Even platinum seems to have finally found its way up after years of decline, which was partly prompted by the so-called Diesel-gate affair. Platinum (+6%) is an important component in the catalytic convertors of diesel cars and the price of this metal has fallen far, whereas the price of palladium has risen sharply in recent times. February was also the month with a lot of merger and takeover news from the gold sector. Barrick made a bid for competitor Newmont, which in turn is in the act of acquiring Goldcorp. All these consolidation attempts are an indication that gold producers think that the gold price has now bottomed.
Despite the neutral performance, we still saw large individual fluctuations within the portfolio, last month. Great Bear Resources continues to do very well (+19%). This was somewhat neutralized by the correction of Greatland Gold (-21%). Both companies are working on significant gold discoveries in Canada and Australia, respectively. Goldsource Mines published the first results of a new gold discovery in Guyana, a country that has been in the spotlight since the end of last year after Barrick announced that it would strengthen its partnership with Reunion, a small exploration company in the country. It was also the third month in a row that the metal producers in our portfolio rose by double digits (+12%). However, this rise is not reflected in the HUI, the mining index, which fell by 1%, again indicating that it pays to invest selectively and not to blindly follow the index. The uranium price fell by 4% in February, pulling down our heavyweights NexGen (-5%) and Mega Uranium (-8%). Due to the extremely low valuations, we are seeing a remarkably strong inflow of capital into our fund.