Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’. 

Matau’s Comments:  

  • Base metal inventories remain tight, though some prices are just starting to reflect fundamental positions.   Pinchpoint positions are mostly less than 1 week’s consumption. 
  • Trade & geopolitical tensions abound!  Uncertainties generated by geopolitical activities continue to hinder normal trading conditions.  

 

  • SUMMARY  
  • Copper  Tit-for-tat tariff imposition continues between USA & China.
  • Cobalt  Development of responsible sourcing of raw materials continues to be developed.  Price stabilising.
  • *Nickel  Sumitomo Metal Mining plans to double output of battery cathode materials.  Ni contango at zero this week!.
  • *Zinc & Lead  NCZ, IBG, HRR – emerging production.  ILZSG forecasts Zn deficit in 2019, but surplus for Pb.
  • Tin  ANW – near final approvals for Taronga tin.
  • *Aluminium  Xinfa closure of major alumina refinery increases supply tension for aluminium.
  • *Gold  USA consumer sentiment highest for 15 yrs.  … but buying conditions reduced.
  • Platinum & Palladium  Pt 3-yr wage negotiations will test South African system.
  • Oil  Geopolitical uncertainty has not been seen at these (high) levels for years.
  • *Coal  Tight met-coal supply is over-riding tepid demand.  “… tight supply is all about Australia”.
  • *Iron Ore  Unexpected strong demand for steel in China increases iron ore prices amid supply tensions.
  • Singapore Shipping  Cape-size supported by iron ore.  Panamax supported by grains.
  • General 
  • South American Exchange rate trends –  CLP, PEN, BRL, ARS:  ARS & BRL particularly weak.
  • Singapore – shipping traffic: Slow oil & bulks, though growth in containers.
  • USA – Industrial Production & Capacity Utilisation:  IP slowed sharply
  • USA Housing Starts: continue to slow.
  • Japan – LNG Prices:  reduced on an unusually warm winter. .