World Steel, China Industry & energy and transport.

Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’.  

Matau’s Comments:  

  • World Steel production increased in May with only Japan and USA recording negative mo-on-mo growth.  Output is recovering from lows in April.  ON a yr-on-yr basis many countries will take time to recover output to pre-Covid-19 levels, if they do.
  • China’s steel production growth has boosted iron ore prices and demand for bulk carriers.
  • China’s industry & Energy output for May recorded broadly positive yr-on-yr growth for key elements.
    • Globally, supply & demand have been impacted differently, often by geographic spread and timing of Covid-19 epidemics.  Chinese supply is surging again, firstly to meet domestic demand.  However raw materials supply is bring affected by Covid-19 epidemics, currently arriving in South America and other countries.  Demand from advanced economies is similarly at different stages. 
  • Base metals:   South America is now a focus, with risks to base metals supply. 
  • Gold prices have improved.   Numerous risks are available to trigger price responses including market fears of second+ waves of Covid-19 virus. 


Copper  Price increasing upon fears of disruption to South American supply by Covid-19 related factors.

Cobalt  DRC is halting artisanal mining to ‘improve controls’ while it installs a (Govt) monopoly on artisans.  

*Nickel  WSA intersects very encouraging Ni results in the Gawler Craton in South Aust.  Assay awaited.

Zinc & Lead  Covid-19 had first affected demand, now it is similarly approaching supply.  

Tin  Covid-19 wreaking havoc in Sn supply chains.     

Aluminium  China’s Al sector appears relatively unscathed by Covid-19.

Gold  Gold price continues to respond to geopolitical risks, exacerbated by Covid-19. 

Platinum & Palladium  Platinum purchases more than doubled in Mar20Qtr.  Zimbabwe’s currency collapsed.

Oil  China holds strong position in oil price ‘war’.  China & Russia lost control.  USA is absent.

Coal  China’s import controls not clearly set out, just half way through 2020, and approaching limits.  Australian supply has issues.

Iron Ore  Vale received permission to reopen iron ore mines.  Chinese ore stocks are low.

Shipping  Demand for Cape vessels flowing onto Panamax usage. 


*World Steel: Only USA & Japan recorded negative mo-on-mo steel growth for May.  

*China – Industry & Energy Output:  China’s recovery from Covid-19 is broadly strengthening..

*China – Transport – Freight & Passenger:  Impact of Covid-19 was deeper than for SARS.

*USA – Durable Goods, Vehicles, Electronics & Computers:  -ve growth, particularly for durables & vehicles.