Monthly Metal Review
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
A UK court rejected London Metal Exchange plans to unscramble withdrawal logjams at its global warehouse network. Ruling on a Rusal lawsuit, a judge said the LME decision was unfair and unlawful as it did not adequately explore other options before deciding on load-in/load-out rates. The exchange was seeking legal advice and will continue other reforms.
In another hit to Northern Dynasty’s Pebble Mine southwest-Alaska copper-gold project, Rio Tinto will give Northern Dynasty shares, its 19-percent stake in the controversial project, to the Alaska Community Foundation and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation. The Native Corporation head is a strong Pebble opponent. Anglo American walked away from its $541-million Pebble investment in September.
Chinese companies led by MMG bought Glen-core Xstrata’s interest in Peru’s Las Bambas copper mine for $5.8 billion. Buyers are MMG, an arm of China Minmetals, Guoxin International Investment, and Citic Metal. They will pay 2014 capex and costs until closing, probably in the third quarter. China’s copper imports surged 31.4 percent on-year to 420,000 tonnes in March.
China’s economy grew 7.4 percent on-year in first-quarter, down from 7.7 percent on-quarter but better than expected. Industrial output rose 8.8 percent in March on-year whilst retail sales jumped by 12.2 percent. A mini-stimulus announced in April will extend tax breaks for small-and-medium-sized com-panies and boost railway-infrastructure spending. April manufacturing activity contracted for a fourth monthl, the flash Markit/HSBC PMI of 48.3 indicated. But the reading was better than March’s 48. Exports fell by 6.6 percent on-year in March, in part on weak commodity prices. Imports dropped 11.3 percent on-year. Automakers sold 1.71 million passenger vehicles in March, up 7.9 percent on-year.
UK car production jumped 12 percent on-year in March to more than 142,000 units. It was helped by European demand.
The unemployment rate had dropped to a five-year, 6.9-percent low in February, down from 7.2 percent in the quarter through January. Wage growth sped to 1.7 percent.
The UK Markit/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers' Index ticked to a healthy 62.5 in March, next to February’s 62.6 and far above the 50 growth mark.
Germany's private sector expanded faster in April, from a slight March growth slowdown as manufacturing and service-industry activity rose. Markit's preliminary composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 56.3 in April from March's 54.3. April's was the 12th straight month above 50.
The number of Americans filing for unem-ployment-insurance payments in mid-April, 304,000, hovered near the lowest level in almost seven years.
But sales of new U.S. homes were at their lowest in eight months during a cold March; down 14.5 percent to an adjusted 384,000-unit rate. Still, new-home sales are just 10 percent of transactions. Previously-owned-home sales fell 0.2 percent on-month to a better-than-expected annual rate 4.59 million. Groundbreaking for single-family homes rose 6.0 percent to a 635,000-unit pace.
Output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities rose 0.7 percent in March. Despite higher mortgage rates and house prices, applications for new home purchases increased 15 percent on-month.