World Steel Surged

Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’. 

Matau’s Comments:  

  • Word steel production surged in April.  12mo growth noted in USA, Turkey and Iran, and Asian countries in particular.
  • 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 still abound!  Trump’s proposed tariffs on Mexico surprised many, as it is a key trade partner with which USA had recently signed a trade agreement.  [China has signed no such agreement, yet has a similar level of tariffs imposed on it. … why sign?]  Uncertainties generated by geopolitical activities continue to hinder normal trading conditions.  

 SUMMARY  

Copper  “Fundamentals are OK”, but fears of undermining by tariffs depresses prices.

Cobalt  COB & Mitsubishi Corp – offtake agreement for sulphur from Thackaringa.

Nickel  Long term aims remain to reduce Co in batteries and promote NCM811. Lots more Ni is needed.

Zinc & Lead  SPQ & S32 – Nicholson project in Qld.

Tin  AfriTin Mining commissioning its Uis project in Namibia.

Aluminium  China reducing taxes on Al output, to support a cooling economy. Trump eased a bit on Huawei !

Gold  Price increased on Trump’s proposed tariffs on Mexican products.  Premiums up in India & China.

Platinum & Palladium  Zimbabwe reportedly thinking of scrapping its equity ownership law, to attract more foreign capital..

Oil  USA refiners may suffer from Trump’s 5% tax on Mexican product.

Coal  China’s offtake increased.  Recent expansion plans by majors may cap / moderate price increases.

Iron Ore  Slow slide of a Vale mine embankment likely to not cause dam failure.

Shipping  Panamax & Cape rates remain firm (on iron ore demand).

General 

World Steel: production surged in April

Japan – Industrial Production:  modest negative growth for April.