Articles in Category: Supply & Demand

We are not claiming any particular foresight on this, but a recent Reuters article yesterday covers a topic we wrote on last week concerning the disconnect between China’s aluminum smelters, which managed to raise output by 2.4% during the troubled first two months of this year, and the downstream aluminum semi-finished product producers, which all but shut down due to the enforced government lockdown in many parts of the country.

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The result we and Reuters report is SHFE stocks have mushroomed from 185,127 metric tons at the end of December to 519,542 tons now, as smelters churned out metal that no one could use.

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As government entities in the U.S. battle to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), incrementally stricter provisions on public gatherings have been implemented. Large businesses, from casinos on the Las Vegas strip to Disney World, have closed up shop.

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As of 4:00 p.m. CET (Central European Time) on Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 168,109 confirmed cases in 148 countries, including 6,610 deaths.

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the coverage here on MetalMiner, including: Tesla’s reported interest in cobalt-free batteries; the oil price crash; falling aluminum prices; supply-chain challenges amid the COVID-19 outbreak; Trump’s travel suspension; and global cobalt mine production:

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The Copper Monthly Metals Index (MMI) held at a value of 70 this month based on a mix of mild price changes globally.

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LME copper prices traded sideways during most of February, following late January’s precipitous price drop. However, the price weakened again in early March.

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The Aluminum Monthly Metals Index (MMI) dropped three points once again, falling to 80 this month.

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After holding sideways for most of February, LME aluminum prices once again grew weaker later in the month. Prices hit new short-term lows as of early March.

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The current plunge in the oil price has less to do with the coronavirus than it does with power politics.

Oil prices crashed by the most in 29 years Sunday night, The Telegraph reported this morning, as Saudi Arabia announced its deal with OPEC+ to limit production was dead in the water. Instead, the kingdom was set to raise output and heavily discount prices.

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The resulting drop is the steepest collapse in oil prices since 1991 and takes the market back to levels last seen in early 2016. A barrel cost almost $70 just two months ago but hit $36 this morning and pushed West Texas Intermediate (WTI) down to $32.

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Manufacturers are increasingly questioning whether their supply chain is likely to be exposed to disruption from the coronavirus outbreak ravaging China.

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Even if your company does not source product directly from China, many companies are still predicting supply chain disruption as the raw materials used by their manufacturing plants — which can be located anywhere in the world — probably originates in China.

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was with some of the metals coverage here on MetalMiner, including: oil prices, global steel production, Chinese steel stocks, U.S. automotive sales and more.

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The Construction Monthly Metals Index (MMI) dropped four points this month for a March MMI reading of 75.

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As if the social cost of the coronavirus Covid-19 were not bad enough, some sectors of China’s industrial economy are suffering growing pain despite a supposed return to work last week.

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The property sector, which accounts for about 40% of China’s steel consumption, is stagnant, a Reuters report states, while other steel-consuming industries are likely to be operating far below full capacity.

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