This morning in metals news: Events in China are affecting the copper market; the London Metals Exchange may get a new member to its ring, the influential trading group that may be facing more changes itself; and look for our MMO today.
London copper prices are being buffeted by widespread power restrictions in China and a looming debt crisis by Chinese property giant Evergrande Group, Reuters reports, seeing a weekly price decline for three-month copper of 3.7% as investors reduced risk exposure.
“China’s power shortage has prompted analysts to cut growth outlook in the world’s biggest metals consumer, and its factory activity unexpectedly shrank in September, partially due to the curbs,” Reuters said.
Chinese markets were closed Friday for a weeklong public holiday.
Changes for LME ring
For the first time in 14 years, a new firm will join the London Metal Exchange’s trading ring, a source tells Reuters. Sigma Broking Ltd, which trades equity, fixed income and commodities, did not comment. And other developments indicate that the ring — eight other banks and brokers that trade in the ring or open outcry — may be losing its influence anyway.
Monthly Metal Outlook comes out today
MetalMiner’s October edition of the Monthly Metal Outlook (MMO) comes out today. Subscribers get it in their inbox on the first of every month. Get a sample report here. The MMO includes:
Current prices and forecast price ranges for aluminum, nickel, copper, lead, zinc, tin, HRC, CRC, HDG and steel plate
Independent trend analysis (price drivers, macro and microeconomic influences and more)
Metal-specific buying strategies
Ongoing price alerts if markets change quickly
Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. On Oct. 28, the topic is “How Artificial Intelligence and Technical Analysis Provide Actionable Metals Buying Insights.” Sign up on the MetalMiner Events page.
The global mining and trading business Glencore will get new leadership next year, with the firm announcing Friday that CEO Ivan Glasenberg will retire and that Gary Nagle, a senior deputy overseeing coal industrial assets, will succeed him, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Glasenberg, 63, started with Glencore in 1984 and has been CEO for 18 years. Nagle, 45, joined the company in 2000, working his way up via coal operations in Colombia, South Africa’s alloy assets and now in Australia.
About a year ago, Glasenberg bluntly stated the need for a changing of the guard.
This edition of week in review will also include a preview. MetalMiner’s Monthly Metals Index kicked off Thursday with a look at aluminum, and the MMI series will continue with an examination of developments in the copper market on Monday, with posts about steel, construction, automobiles and other MMI topics to follow.
“Decarbonization and electrification are the main drivers for the future of metals commodities, delivering on the commitment of moves toward a low-carbon economy,” Salaria said in a video shown for the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Chain conference in Shanghai.
Even China, a top emitter of carbon and user of metals, will have decarbonization efforts like the world’s biggest economies and will drive the demand for copper, Reuters said.
After peaking Tuesday, copper prices eased up Wednesday as profit-taking was spurred by a higher dollar, demand in China and upbeat news about COVID-19 vaccines, Reuters said.
LME copper fell to $7,623/mt Wednesday after hitting $7,743/mt Tuesday, the highest since March 2013 and a gain of nearly 25% this year, Reuters reports.
“Funds are taking profits, the vaccine news seems to be priced in, and the dollar’s downtrend seems to have stalled,” a copper trader told Reuters. “But China is looking good growth-wise, and demand is unlikely to disappoint.”
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On Tuesday, copper prices hit their highest point since 2013, driven by fast-expanding manufacturing activity in Europe and China — as well as by news that viable coronavirus vaccines are coming, Reuters reports.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) peaked today at $7,723/mt before lowering to around $7,715.50/mt., said Reuters, which reported that copper has come up since a low of $4,371/mt in March.
The U.S. is imposing tariffs on aluminum sheet imports from array of countries that the Commerce Department sees as trying to exploit the lack of Chinese aluminum in the U.S. market after tariffs were placed on it in 2018, according to USAToday.
The tariffs “will range from the single digits for Bahrain to anywhere from 52% to 132% for Germany,” the article states.
The affected countries exported $2 billion in aluminum in 2019, the USAToday article reports. The tariffs target Bahrain, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Oman, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey.
Aluminum Association CEO Tom Dobbins said in a statement: “The Commerce Department’s findings confirm that foreign producers relied on artificially low prices to rapidly increase their aluminum sheet exports to the United States, just as unfairly traded imports from China were beginning to withdraw from the market.”
Hurricane slows oil, gas production
Hurricane Delta hobbled oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico as it approached and made landfall Friday in Louisiana, but energy companies were returning crews to offshore sites to assess damage and restart operations, Reuters reports. As of Sunday, 91% of oil production and 62% of natural gas production were idled by the hurricane, Reuters reports.
Caterpillar eyes driverless machinery to blunt COVID crisis
Caterpillar’s autonomous driving technology, which can be added to machines, is helping the U.S. heavy equipment maker mitigate the slow sales on its main machinery because of the coronavirus crisis, Reuters reports.
“With both small and large customers looking to protect their operations from future disruptions, demand has surged for machines that don’t require human operators on board,” the article states.
“Sales of Caterpillar’s autonomous technology for mining operations have been growing at a double-digit percentage clip this year compared with 2019, according to previously unreported internal company data shared with Reuters. By contrast, sales of its yellow bulldozers, mining trucks and other equipment have been falling for the past nine months.”
Mining giant Rio Tinto signed a deal with Caterpillar last year for self-driving trucks, autonomous blast drills, loaders and other machines for the construction of the Koodaideri iron ore mine in Australia, Reuters reports.