China – USA

Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’.  

Matau’s Comments:

  • China’s industry & energy data continue to show effects of its trade sanctions, and production curbs.  Steel products output is down.  Energy production is up.  Renewables related products mostly appear with positive growth.  Manufactured goods have varied growth profiles. 
  • USA’housing and industrial production data records growth, but we consider these data still have a covid affected (low) denominator. 
    • Los Angeles port is utterly clogged, mostly with empty containers.  Only allowed to stack them 2x high … no floor space left … so ships waiting offshore cannot bert to unload as ther eis nowhere to put their containers.  Appealing to change regulations to allow stacking to 6x high. 
  • Base metals’ pinchpoint graphs continue to highlight (very) tight markets.  The prices are now responding strongly to low stocks.  
    • High prices have NOT drawn additional stocks onto exchanges for: Cu, Zn, Pb, Ni nor Sn.  
    • In fact for most of these stock levels are continuing to decline despite high prices. 
    • Implies very tight markets.
  • New Energy Vehicles’ much touted massive growth rates might grind to a halt in a couple of years if some battery configuration changes do not become available.  Matau believes that the resources industry will struggle to supply raw materials at the optimistic growth rates of the manufacturers and entrepreneurs.  Actual rates will have to reduce to the actual rates of raw materials supply growth.

SUMMARY  

Copper   China views Cu as a highly strategic (& critical) metal. 

Cobalt  Top ten Cobalt producers (outside DRC).  Outlook to be driven by batteries. 

Nickel  Prices at 7 yr highs on supply concerns relative to forecast demand. 

Zinc & Lead  Rising power prices could lead to metal producers relocating operations away from Europe.  

Tin  Sn prices have been the best performers this year-to-date.  Stocks low and demand good.      

Aluminium  Aluminium alloys are also in short supply.

Gold  Prices reduced gains upon USA Fed comments on inflation in 2022, and on winding back stimulus. 

Platinum & Palladium  PBoC launched ‘Panda’ (Pt) coins..

Oil  Oil prices boosted by concerns of coal and gas shortages. 

Iron Ore  RIO plans massive power investments for its projects. 

Shipping  USA scrambling to clear US port logjams. 

General 

USA – Bond Yields:  Marked lift in yields, now implying economic improvement sooner 

China – Industry & Energy Output:  Mixed: steel products down but energy & renewables better.

China – Transport:  Freight is growing slowly while Passenger traffic is still struggling.  

USA – Housing Starts:  positive growth likely still enhanced by (covid) low-denominator. 

USA – Industrial Production – Capacity Utilisation:  Growth rates still enhanced by covid effects.