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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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Last year proved to be a hectic one for Norwegian aluminum maker Norsk Hydro.

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Hilda Merete Aasheim, who took over as CEO in 2019, recapped some of the challenges in the company’s annual report.

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Those of us who are just passive investors in the stock market, usually via our pension plans, have no doubt been horrified by the meltdown in stock prices and what feels like the daily destruction of our savings.

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But fear not, as for any of us in there for the long haul, it will no doubt come back gradually over time, however scary it feels in the meantime.

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The initial reaction to the collapse in oil prices this week, initiated by Saudi Arabia’s unilateral declaration that it would open the spigots and flood the market with oil while simultaneously heavily discounting prices, was followed by optimism in some quarters.

That optimism came with the thought that lower oil prices would aid economies struggling with supply chain and worker attendance challenges as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

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Certainly, lower oil prices will help level balance of payments deficits run by some heavy oil consumers, like India and China. Even Europe, which is a net oil importer, will benefit to varying degrees.

But the size of the price fall will also prove a mixed blessing causing acute pain in other areas, not least among the major players themselves.

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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 Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) rose three points for a March MMI reading of 23.

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Reuters recently reported on Tesla’s announcement that it is in advanced talks to use batteries from China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) that contain no cobalt specifically for use in cars made at Tesla’s Shanghai plant.

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The statement went on to say as a result of using CATL’s lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries, Tesla would be able to substantially lower the cost of those cars using the alternative battery technology, as cobalt is the most expensive component in traditional nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) and nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries.

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The Raw Steels Monthly Metals Index (MMI) lost two points during the past month — indicating prices weakened slightly — for a March reading of 69.

Chinese price weakness led the index decline, as all Chinese prices fell (with the exception of Chinese coking coal).

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U.S. steel prices for the four key forms weakened in February for the four key forms in the range of roughly 2-4%.

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