Monthly Metal Review
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
China manufacturing slowed mildly for a third month, falling from a 48.5-measure in February to 48.1 in HSBC’s’ initial March purchasing managers’ index (PMI). Copper and other metals fell after Beijing allowed its first domestic corporate-bond default. February exports dropped 18.1 percent on-year, blamed on the lunar holiday. Industrial output slowed to 8.6-percent growth on-year for January and Febru-ary, from December’s 9.7. Property sales fell 3.7 per-cent on-year, down from an overheated 26.3-percent growth. February copper imports fell 30 percent from January. Still, China’s 2014 growth goal remains 7.5 percent.
Freeport-McMoRan executive Javier Targhetta said China’s copper consumption will grow for more than a decade. Targhetta said he expects brisk China import volumes even if GDP growth slows as copper is needed in mature and emerging economies.
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing CEO Charles Li said London Metal Exchange trading fees are likely to rise in 2015. Li spoke after HKEx reported a lower-than-expected 11-percent rise in annual earnings, as a recovery in stock-trading volumes last year was offset by increased LME expenses.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the Fed will likely end its already-shrinking bond-buying program this fall, and could begin raising interest rates six months later. The benchmark rate is close to zero, and analysts predicted it will rise to at least 1 percent at the end of 2015 and 2.25 percent a year later.
The UK’s Institute of Chartered Accountants forecast a 3.3-percent 2014 economy rise. February UK auto sales grew 3 percent on-year, continuing a two-year trend. The government expects export growth of 2.6 percent this year.
French manufacturing-sector growth surged in March, rising in Markit’s early PMI to 51.9 from 49.7. Overall French business activity grew at its fastest in 2.5 years.
In Germany, the Bundesbank forecast a first-quarter economic-expansion boost, citing a mild late-winter and an upward trend in industrial contracts. But it said second-quarter slowing may follow.
Eurozone inflation slid in February to its lowest since October. The on-year inflation rate was 0.7 percent, against January’s 0.8 percent. The central bank expects inflation to rise to 1 percent this year and 1.5 in 2016.
Beijing is moving from a hyper-growth, export-driven industrial economy to a more-balanced, market-determined economy driven by domestic consumption and services with 7- to 8-percent annual growth, said Yale economist Stephen Roach, Morgan Stanley’s former Asia Chairman.
A mining and resources bill approved by South Africa’s National Assembly would give the government a 20-percent stake in new oil, gas, and production ventures. The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Act still faced legislative hurdles and changes, and needs the signa-ture of President Jacob Zuma. International tensions from Russia’s Crimea annexation and its political standoff with western-backed Ukraine initially roiled markets and helped safety-haven gold. Economic sanctions chafed against some impacted businesses but, analysts said, could be largely metals-neutral. Russian-metals buyers are watching closely.