USA

Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’.  

Matau’s Comments:

  • For April through June, for most key countries, the base months in 2020 were the lowest base-readings data during the initial Covid-19 wave, meaning that yr-on-yr growth numbers are strongly influenced by the low bases.  Do not be impressed by big positive numbers.   Look instead at recent data relative to pre-covid levels, and trends as a guide.  
  • USD has increased in value against key currencies, yet despite this, most commodity prices increased (in USD terms). 
  • Base metal pinch-point graphs remain tight. 
  • OPEC+ is considering raising oil prices, which will temper price increases that arise from recovering economies. 
  • Iron ore prices remain high, and China’s sales of Cu, Al & Zn SRB stocks failed to have a meaningful effect on commodity prices.  Similarly its jaw-boning to reduce iron ore and coking and thermal coal prices has had little effect. 
  • The defacto sanctions China imposed on Australian goods and commodities appears to have backfired with global prices for the same being at highs.  Matau thinks China ought to have known or learned from the failure of USA sanctions on various items against several countries, that the effect of sanctions or tariffs is primarily to increase costs for the economy of the country imposing them.

SUMMARY  

Copper  Chilean Antofagasta has secured offtake agreements with four major Chinese smelters.   

Cobalt  Unless significant investment is made in large commercial Co & Li deposits shortages will occur.  

Nickel  Ni is expected to be a key beneficiary of EV adoption (extending vehicles’ range). 

Zinc & Lead  ILZSG reports Zn & Pb is in surplus in early 2021.  China’s SRB sales had no effect on price.

Tin  Demand for tin for electronics is soaring. 

Aluminium  India is evaluating ‘aluminium-air’ batteries as an alternative to Li-ion. 

Gold  Gold in India was sold at premiums for the first time in two months.  

Platinum & Palladium  Various mine site disruptions and other constraints will continue to limit supply growth.

Oil  OPEC+ ministers’ talks are considering raising output.  Not everyone is on the same page.

Coal  Matau has discontinued coverage of coal data (due to costs). 

Iron Ore  Vale is evaluating an air-bubble lubrication of its ship hulls to reduce friction, and save fuel. 

Shipping  Sea-borne coal has been one of the dark horses of the dry-bulk shipping market. 

General 

Baker Hughes – Rig Counts – Global and North American:  North American and global rig counts have increased with rising oil prices. 

USA – Purchasing Managers’ Index:  Strong outlook for June

USA – Construction Spending:  mixed growth:  private & residential up, and public & non-residential spending down..