Author Archives: Stuart Burns

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The shipping industry’s woes started before the current pandemic.

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An interesting article in the Financial Times this week explores the conundrum electric car makers have in balancing their ethical policies with the need to source critical raw materials, like cobalt, to produce the most powerful version of today’s electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

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Having topped the European league tables with the highest number of infections and deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.K. looks set to top the recession league table, according to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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As we predicted last week, the LME to SHFE arbitrage window has closed.

Investors were unlikely to leave that open for long and the resulting inflow of half a million tons of aluminum in May no doubt contributed to a narrowing of the delta.

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President Donald Trump had scant regard, nor interest, in the impact his decision in 2018 to impose 25% import duties on steel products would have on other markets around the world — his focus was, reasonably enough, purely on the U.S.

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As much of the rest of the base metals were lifted this week, nickel remained subdued.

This comes despite an announcement by the Indonesian government that it would relax exports of many minerals but keep in place a ban on nickel ores.

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An intriguing article by McKinsey headlines by asking what the future holds for the U.S. road haulage industry post-COVID-19 but in so doing goes on to illustrate an industry in long-term decline.

The collapse in industrial activity has hit the freight transportation and logistics industry hard these last few months, but freight’s problems have been on a slow burn for much longer.

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Airbus has risen to rival Boeing to form a duopoly despite the plane maker operating across multiple countries and, even before the pandemic, facing problems of scale, fragmentation and lack of profitability.

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Aluminum prices have been on an upward trend the last week or two, currently holding comfortably above $1,500 per ton for spot cash after months in the $1,400s.

The market, though, is undergoing convulsions.

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Can China ever record economic growth greater than 6%?

We don’t know, but if I were a betting man I’d say not.

After contracting some 6.8% in the first quarter of this year, estimates vary with respect to what China’s GDP growth will be for 2020 in total. CRU expects between 2-3%, according to a Financial Times article, but analysts polled by the South China Morning Post are quoting between 1.5-2.5%, with some major banks, like UBS, expecting growth at the bottom of that range.

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