Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’.  

Matau’s Comments:  

When hearing or reading of forecasts of supply or deficits, always consider which side of the story the writer is from (supply or demand), or is the author an impartial analyst or group.  It often helps frame the comments.  

  • Looming IMO bunker fuel requirements for less than 0.5% sulphur in fuel oil is dramatically changing the fuels traded as the January start date approaches. 
  • Asian shipping data (through Singapore) indicates activity is surging.  We simplistically view ‘container’ traffic as finished goods exported to developed economies;  ‘bulk carrier’ traffic as raw materials imported to Asia, and ‘tanker’ traffic as energy imports.  For the latter part of 2019, all have surged. 
  • Base metal markets remain fundamentally tight, and are incrementally continuing to tighten.    Watch for supply disruption(s).  In 2020 there are numerous key labour negotiations at operations in Chile.  


*Copper  Prices responding to macro:  trade deal, China’s PMI.  … but watch labour negotiations in 2020.

*Cobalt  COB settled dispute with BPL.   

*Nickel  Inventory jump.  Indonesia’s expansion goals confronted by EU and WTO. 

Zinc & Lead  Zn market is sound but struggling for traction.  China’s Pb smelter operating rates at less than 60%.  

Tin  China & Myanmar pledged to strengthen ties & communication.      

Aluminium  Portland Smelter being considered by Liberty House Group (Sanjeev Gupta). 

Gold  RVR, GOR.  Illegal Au mining surge in Amazon is driving increased water pollution & deforestation.  

Platinum & Palladium  Pt segments by sector and region.

*Oil  IMO2020 rules to take effect in January limiting sulphur contents in bunker fuel.  

Coal  Global (thermal) coal demand is expected to stay steady until 2024.  

Iron Ore  The iron ore market is expected to come closer to balance in the next few years.  

Shipping  Looming IMO 2020 rules increased oil tanker freight rates.  


*Singapore Shipping Traffic:   For the latter part of 2019 Asian shipping has been surging.

*Pt Hedland – Iron ore shipments:  A recent surge but shipments over all are plateauing.

USA – Industrial Production & Capacity Utilisation:  IP still negative growth.  Cap.Ut. reduced. 

USA – House Starts:  Starts continue positive growth.  IP is yet to follow.