The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) held flat this month. (Editor’s Note: This report also includes coverage of grain-oriented electrical steel.)
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Chemaf suspends operations at Usoke copper-cobalt plant
The Congo subsidiary of Shalina Resources, Chemaf, will suspend operations at its copper-cobalt processing facility, partially as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported.
The Usoke plant was first commissioned in 2002 and has an annual capacity of 31,500 tons of copper cathodes and 2,500 tons of cobalt.
CFO Nico de Lange told Reuters the coronavirus situation was not the primary impetus for the move, but it was a factor.
“It’s an operational decision, not a COVID decision, but COVID was the last push,” de Lange was quoted as saying to Reuters.
Tesla hails best ever first quarter performance
Electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla announced it posted Q1 production of 103,000 vehicles and delivered approximately 88,400 vehicles.
“Model Y production started in January and deliveries began in March, significantly ahead of schedule,” Tesla said in a release. “Additionally, our Shanghai factory continued to achieve record levels of production, despite significant setbacks.”
However, the coronavirus outbreak is also impacting Tesla, as it has other automakers.
CNBC reported last week that Tesla would cut the pay of all of its salaried employees and furlough hourly employees until May 4.
Tesla temporarily suspended production at its Fremont, California facility on the heels of health orders by the state government related to COVID-19.
“Basic operations will continue in order to support our vehicle and energy service operations and charging infrastructure, as directed by the local, state and federal authorities,” Tesla said in a release March 19. “Our factory in New York will temporarily suspend production as well, except for those parts and supplies necessary for service, infrastructure and critical supply chains. Operations of our others facilities will continue, including Nevada and our service and Supercharging network.”
Tesla reported a cash position of $6.3 billion as of the end of Q4 2019.
“We believe this level of liquidity is sufficient to successfully navigate an extended period of uncertainty,” the company said. “At the end of Q4 2019, we had available credit lines worth approximately $3B including working capital lines for all regions as well as financing for the expansion of our Shanghai factory.”
The GOES MMI, which tracks grain-oriented electrical steel, rose 15.5% this month.
According to the TEX Report, the coronavirus outbreak has not had much of an impact on GOES demand.
“The spread of novel coronavirus infection across the world has now caused a serious economic impact on the global economy,” TEX Report stated. “Steel products are no exception, but there have been no changes so far in the supply-demand balance of grain-oriented electrical steel (GO). Production in Japan is going well, and the export talks for the next quarter shipments are at final stages with higher quarter-on-quarter prices and order volumes.”
Per the TEX Report, production continues in Japan and orders are still being made in Europe as usual.
Actual metals prices and trends
The GOES price increased 15.8% month over month to $2,566/mt.
Japanese steel plate held flat, reaching $818.57/mt at the start of the month. Korean steel plate fell 4.5% to $513.12/mt. Chinese steel plate fell 3.4% to $573.27/mt.
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U.S. steel plate fell 1.1% to $688/st.