Ports and Rig Counts

Most industrial metals prices have fallen further as investor fears that Trump’s tariffs could undermine global growth.  However the fundamentals remain reasonably tight, with inventories continuing to fall in most commodities.  

Of particular note this week read those items below marked with “*”:


Copper  Thieves stealing cathode Cu from moving trains in Chile.

*Cobalt   Demand for cobalt in vehicle battery materials is expected to grow over 40% in 2018.

*Nickel  Philippine Ni Assoc’n expects Ni ore shipments to fall 17% in 2018.

*Zinc & Lead  Zn inventories continue to fall.  Mkt expected to be “less tight”… but hedge funds cutting positions.

Tin  AfriTin Mining plans to revive the Uis deposit in Namibia.

Aluminium  Fears grow that the USA tariffs could erode global growth.

Gold  USD gold price continues to erode with strengthening USD index value.  Watch for Fed comments.

Platinum & Palladium  Zimbabwe’s President wants to revive the economy through mining.  There is still work to do.

*Oil  USA considering selling down strategic oil stockpiles to reduce the oil price.

Coal  Seaborne met-coal price movements for Dec18HY depend on Chinese & Australian outcomes.

Iron Ore  Metal Bulletin to revise its specification of 62% Fe iron ore cfr price.  China’s total iron ore imports reduced but its imports from Pt Hedland increased.

Shipping  Cape rates strong this week, though Panamax rates softer.


*China – steel inventories: Since 2011 only 2016 & 2017 levels have been lower.

*Port Hedland – iron ore shipments:  At record levels!

Singapore Port Traffic:  Containers remain strong while Bulks and Tankers remain weak.

*Pinch point updates:  Inventories continue to reduce but mkt sentiment (fears) dropped prices.

Baker Hughes – World and USA & Canada Rig counts:  Rig counts continue to lag oil prices.

Japan – LNG prices:  Price lift on sustained oil price lift.