Of particular interest this week:

USA: – sales of houses on a stable upward trend, but construction growth rates falling dramatically.  Is this a warning?  Last time construction peaked like that it was 18 mo ahead of a financial collapse due to financing structures.  Checked the state of financing of the current US housing and other US construction markets.

Copper :  Zambia is experiencing political and financial ‘unrest’ due to low Cu prices. 

Gold:  a number of factors favour ongoing gold price increases.  These do not look like changing soon.  Also a strong Indian monsoon (current) tends to provide increased income for Indian farmers who are traditionally significant gold buyers. 

Coal – prices for both thermal and coking coal continue their upward trend(s).  The period of oversupply appears to have halted.  

Oil – Saudi’s comments and attitude ‘change’ boosted oil price. 

Iron ore:  A naked grab for cash by the WA government.  How many industries can tolerate a +15%-of-revenue-take by government? 

SUMMARY

Copper  Zambia has financial & political tensions.  Cu mine suspensions not helping at all.

Nickel  AVQ PFS for Isabel (Solomon’s) is positive.   Anglo’s Barro Alto fails to sell at Anglo’s price. 

Zinc & Lead  Glencore Zn output down.  RVR adding a rig to Thalanga drilling after significant intercepts.

Tin  Chinese tin imports may increase on domestic smelter closures (for environmental reasons). 

Aluminium  Local Chinese smelters producing fewer ingots (selling liquid metal). 

Gold  WGC attributes investor interest to recent political / financial factors.  End not seen for current demand conditions.  

Platinum & Palladium  Concentration of supply is a driver for Pt-Pd price / supply volatility. 

Oil  Comments from OPEC a change in tone and a boost for prices. 

Coal  Spot HCC and thermal prices up again.  China’s IP at 6.0%, still at a healthy rate.  Indian monsoon is a strong one this year.  

Iron Ore  Major iron ore miners slam WA Govt’s proposed tax grab (bringing tax to 15.7% of revenue)! 

Shipping  Cape and Panamax rates up a bit in Asian routes / markets. 

General  

Gold Demand – investment demand outstrips jewellery for first time in years.

USA – Sales of Existing Houses – stable inventories and steady improvement.

USA – Construction Spending – Sharp falls in growth rates.  Is this a warning? 

Japan – Orders to Machinery – Slower for most segments, but with some resilience.

Germany – Industrial Production, Durables, Construction – Generally an improving trend.