STEEL

Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’. 

Matau’s Comments:  

When hearing or reading of forecasts of supply or deficits, always consider which side of the story the writer is from (supply or demand), or is the author an impartial analyst or group.  It often helps frame the comments.  

  • A number of signs are appearing that suggest the commodity markets may perform within the next 12 months.  
  • Geopolitical uncertainties continue at pace, many USA driven, and mean that several markets are uncertain as to their expected direction (Au, Pt). 
  • USA and Japanese data continue to illustrate slowing economies, in most aspects
  • Saudi has again indicated it is balking at being the ‘fixit’ implementer for the oil industry.  Some are calling a looming downturn in USA oil output, though USA has become a net oil exporter.
  • Base metal markets are fundamentally tight, and are incrementally continuing to tighten.  Prices continue to be low, influenced by market sentiment that focused on uncertainty.  These conditions cannot be sustained. 

SUMMARY  

Copper  Cu prices dipped on ongoing tensions in trade disputes.

Cobalt  COB anticipates outcomes from the Independent Expert Determination this week.

Nickel  Indonesia – European trade dispute escalates over Ni ore exports.

Zinc & Lead  IBG’s Citronen project progressing.  NMT’s Technical success in Li-ion battery recycling.

Tin  Sn’s forecast deficit in doubt for 2019, but outlook for 2020 is better..

Aluminium  Australian aluminium smelters struggling on several fronts.

Gold  Geopolitical uncertainties abound.  Gold price unsure of direction.

Platinum & Palladium  Analysts evenly divided on outlook.

Oil  OPEC’s extension of production cuts in doubt.

Coal  China’s domestic coking coal procured holding out for better contract pricing.

Iron Ore  China’s steel mills paying higher premia for high iron grade ore.

Shipping  Freight rates increased on a busy iron ore market and seasonal Asian port congestion.

General

World Steel: Lower output in October, but higher over past 12 mo.

USA – Durable Goods, Vehicles & Electronics:  New orders have broadly headed backwards.

Japan – Industrial Production & segments: Positive growth in select electronics.