Australian Exploration – World Steel

Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’.  

Matau’s Comments:     The world is recovering from a low disrupted space, and recovery is unlikely to be uniform, nor without volatility.  Raw materials are essential to maintain existing demand requirements, and for future growth.  Supply chains and demand levels have been disrupted differently, often according to regional epidemic outbreaks.  Timing and impacts of Covid-19 epidemics have been different in: China, vs USA, vs Europe, vs Africa, vs South America, and then South East Asia, Australia.   

  • Covid lockdowns have widely been the main drivers of very sharp declines, much sharper than prior economic or financial crashes, to deep levels, from which, in many cases recovery has yet to achieve prior levels.  For some economies it may be a matter of time required for recovery.  For some however, each past ‘crash’ has resulted in recovery to a slightly lower level. 
  • Base metals’ pinch-point graphs continue to show metal prices rising, copper in particular, in response to expectations of (stimulus driven) increased demand, and recognition of tight supply.  
    • Any material supply disruption or surge in demand may trigger marked price responses.   
    • Right now though activity appears to be slowing on several fronts. 
    • Total exchange base metal inventories reduced for each metal, though prices reduced in USD terms. 
  • China’s Golden Week commences 1st October, during which time Chinese commercial activity usually ceases with traders absent from the market. 
  • Australia’s exploration expenditure recorded modest growth in the Jun20Qtr, with positive growth only in minerals and in NSW, Vic and Qld, with WA expenditure being flat. 
  • This week the USD strengthened against a long downward trend, without particular support of notable economics. 
  • Gold price reduced again, in all currencies except ZAR in which it was flat.
    • No notable reductions in geopolitical risk, nor any escalations.


Copper  Cu demand is increasing.  Cu, supply is starting to recover. 

Cobalt  Research has discovered how to regenerate Li-Cobalt oxide within batteries!.  

Nickel  Tesla’s ‘Battery Day’  Tesla is reviewing battery manufacture.  Ni is a key metal.  .

Zinc & Lead  USA auto sales up.  USA premiums for Pb ingots up.  China’s refined Zn output up. 

Tin  Tin market to remain in deficit to 2023.  Electronics & semi-conductor demand are rising.   

Aluminium  Chinese imports of primary aluminium rose their highest in over two decades..

Gold  Price down in all currencies.  Central banks reluctant to buy at high prices.  Plus other factors?

Platinum & Palladium  WPIC sees resurgence in buying diesel vehicles will lift demand for Pt.

Oil  Iran’s oil exports noted as highest in ~18mo, in defiance of USA sanctions. 

Coal  China stocked up ahead of Golden Week.  Import restrictions may loosen afterwards. 

*Iron Ore  Japanese steel mills restarting.  China’s floods and holidays contribute to softer demand. 

Shipping  Rates for Capes & Supramax edged up while Panamax rates slid (a little). 


*World Steel:  Slow positive growth with much of the world still recovering from Covid-19. 

*Australia – Exploration Spending:  iron ore, coal & gold +ve growth.  Also +ve NSW, Vic, Qld

*China – Transport – freight & passengers:  Freight rail & waterway +ve growth.

*USA – Durable Goods, Vehicles & Electronics:  Durables still down.  Vehicles & Electronics up.