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
Up to 25 percent of global nickel-producing ca-pacity must shut down if the industry is to be profita-ble again, warned a top executive at Norilsk Nickel.
Vice President Pavel Fedorov said nickel prices are unlikely to move higher unless unprofitable miners close mines and trim production. Russia’s Norilsk is the world’s second-biggest nickel producer, after Vale SA. Norilsk said it is still profitable, but nickel is one of the most-damaged commodities owing to oversupply and weaker China demand.
A bid by Brazil-based Vale for up to 15 percent of Australia’s Fortescue Mining Group could, if suc-cessful, create a JV capable of challenging Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton in the restructuring China-steel mar-ket. Fortescue signed a non-binding memo of under-standing with Vale.
The value of Bolivia’s January tin exports more than doubled on-year, although refined-tin shipments fell 9.8 percent to $22.6 million. But the government said silver-export values plunged 38 percent, to US$35.9 million, and lead dropped 26.3 percent, to US$9.2 million. Refined silver exports dropped by half, to US$3.8 million.
China will probably increase its 2016 copper ap-petite by just 0.6 percent, tumbling from an estimated 3.8-percent 2015 gain, London-based CRU consultan-cy said. It predicted that March’s price rally will be tem-porary, and forecast second-quarter prices at an aver-age US$4,529. China’s February refined-copper im-ports soared 56 percent on-year to 328,604 tonnes. But CRU said unused semi-fabricated-metal stocks accumulated. It forecast U.S. copper demand growing by 2.1 percent and by 1.4 per cent in Europe. India demand is predicted to rise 6.2 per cent. Supply should be in a minor deficit of 73,000 tonnes this year, counting some 144,000 tonnes from mine cut-backs. Both 2017 and 2018 should see surplus, it said.
The European Central Bank cut its prime inter-est rate to almost zero, from 0.05 percent, attempting to jump-start the eurozone economy and counter deflation. The ECB boosted quantitative easing to €80 billion monthly (US$88.8 billion), up from €60 billion (US$66.6 billion), and slashed 2016’s inflation forecast to almost zero, from 1 percent. It cut growth fore-casts, blaming weaker global-growth prospects. It expects 1.4-percent 2016 growth, down from De-cember’s plus-1.7-percent prediction. It kept a 1.4- percent 2017 growth forecast and predicted 1.8-percent 2018 expansion.
China’s exports dropped 25.4 percent on-year in dollar terms in February; the biggest single-month fall since 2009. Still, China’s Premier lauded an opti-mistic 6.5-percent average-growth target for the next five years. China will raise deficit spending to stimulate its economy. Proposals include railroad and road-project growth, which would require more metal ores.