USA & Japan

Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’.  

Matau’s Comments:

  • Battery minerals commodity supply:  has been over-estimated by EV manufacturers for some time, though they appear to be recognising the limitations inherent in ramping up new mine supply.  Viz: discover, evaluation, permitting, construction and commissioning.   
  • China’s demand for steel and copper continues to surge.
    • Australian iron ore exports are not likely to be restricted by China as it needs too much of it to maintain its steel output.  
  • Base metals’ prices again lifted markedly upon reducing exchange stocks and expectations of improving outlook via stimuli.
    • However it is unlikely that Covid-19 influence has finished yet, variably impacting both demand and supply.
    • But definitely … look at the pinch-point graphs with base metals’ responses to looming demand and fundamentally tight markets !!!
  • Oil market OPEC+ meeting 30Nov-01Dec achieved an agreement! … for a small production increase.
  • Coal markets continue to have sub-optimal trade patterns due to China’srestrictions on Australian exports.  


*Copper  Market deficits forecast through 2023.  Expecting record prices through latter 2022. 

*Cobalt  Gap between demand & supply of battery raw materials is forecast to raise EV power supply costs.  

*Nickel  Outlook for inadequate supply of ‘class 1’ nickel for EVs.  Auto-makers beginning to understand.

Zinc & Lead  Zn TCs at 27 mo lows on supply issues.   Pb TCs forecast to rise on increased supply. 

Tin  Covid pandemic has increased demand for Sn.      

Aluminium  China introduced new ‘solid waste law’ tightening quality requirements for scrap imports.

Gold  Continued geopolitical and other catalysts challenging outlook for resumption of industry.  

Platinum & Palladium  Pt prices increased while Pd price reduced.  Substitution again being discussed.

Oil  OPEC+ achieved an agreement on a small production increase. 

Coal  Met-coal contract price settlement for LV prime hard, and indications for LVPCI for Dec20Qtr. 

*Iron Ore  China not expected to restrict Australian iron ore exports.   

Shipping  Rates diverged with Australia  to China down while Indonesia to China improved.


*USA – Electricity End-Use:  A story of declining industrial activity upon each ‘crisis’.  nb: copper!

*Base metals pinch-point graphs:  starting to respond to tight fundamentals.

*USA – Purchasing Managers’ Index:  Encouraging levels but lower outlook than September.

Japan – Industrial Production:  Improving – Vehicles & Electrical products +ve growth.