This Morning in Metals: Industrial profits plunge 38.3% in China over first two months of 2020

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This morning in metals news, industrial profits in China plummeted over the first two months of the year amid the coronavirus outbreak, Rio Tinto released an update on its operations during the outbreak and copper prices are down 15% over the last month.

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China’s industrial profits drop

As the coronavirus outbreak accelerated in China throughout January and February, leading to an extension of the Lunar New Year holiday break, industrial profits plunged.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported “profits made by industrial enterprises above the designated size achieved 410.7 billion yuan” during January and February decreased 38.3% compared with the first two months of 2019.

“In the first two months, the profits of mining and quarrying reached 55.31 billion yuan, a decrease of 21.1 percent year-on-year, that of manufacturing was 300.57 billion yuan, a decrease of 42.7 percent, that of production and distribution of electricity, heat, gas and water reached 54.82 billion yuan, down by 23.2 percent,” the NBS report stated.

Rio Tinto updates on coronavirus measures

Like other companies, miner Rio Tinto has continued to release updates on the state of its operations during the coronavirus outbreak and measures it is taking to curb the virus’ spread.

“At this point in time, most of our assets continue to operate, with health and safety as a first priority, and I am proud of the way our employees have risen to the challenge to keep themselves, their colleagues and communities safe,” the firm said Sunday. “There are many examples of our operational teams continuing to run their businesses as they provide support to local communities, from manufacturing hand sanitiser, to giving protective equipment to hospitals and funding local community response initiatives.”

Copper down as outbreak continues in U.S.

Among other metals prices, the LME three-month copper price has dropped 15.14% over the last month.

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The price closed last week at $4,785/mt.

The copper price has been on the descent since mid-January, when it began falling from its 2020 high of around $6,330/mt.

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