Shipping – IP ( USA, UK & Germany)

Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’.  

Matau’s Comments:

  • Base metal markets are tightening further. (pinch points & prices).  Notably Ni & Cu.
    • Permitting issues for major mines for RIO & BHP may further tighten the copper market if issues are prolonged.
  • Demand is increasing in key industrial nations (USA, Japan & Europe … in addition to China’s already demonstrated domestic recovery … with further potential pending its export customers’ recoveries).   
    • However industrial production in USA, Germany and UK still have negative growth, which should improve as durable goods orders & PMI’s are either positive or improving.
  • Covid-19 is far from peaking, as more is learned about emerging strains, and is disrupting transport and commercial businesses.
  • Pinchpoint graphs (based on exchange stocks) continue to highlight tightness in markets for Cu & Ni in particular.
    • ‘Shadow’ stockpiles are discussed in comparison with exchange stocks on the Pb & Sn pages. 
  • Shipping data [Singapore & Port Hedland] provide valuable signals comparable with other economic data, that are valuable for confirmation (rather than media hype).


*Copper  BHP & RIO facing issues in obtaining mining permits for major planned Cu operations. 

*Cobalt  Co prices started the year strongly.  BMI forecasts a marginal deficit by late 2012.  

Nickel  Eramet’s SLN’s large Ni mine is at risk of liquidation.

Zinc & *Lead  Zn: Caribou mine on track for March restart.  *Pb: LME Shadow stocks pt-1.  Al shadow matches Exchange stocks.

*Tin  LME Shadow stocks pt 2.  Shadow Ni, Zn, Pb stocks increased, but shadow Cu, Sn stocks down. 

Aluminium  RIO has extended Tiwai Pt AL smelter life with new power contract.

*Gold  Gold price is facing several of the usual opposing drivers.  Likely to remain in USD 1700-1900/oz. 

*Platinum & Palladium  Outlook for Pt & Ag to outperform Au during 2021.

Oil  Value of OPEC oil exports for 2020 expected to be down 45% from 2019.  Increasing in 2021. 

Coal  Supply concerns in China for metallurgical and thermal coal are forcing some concessions. 

*Iron Ore  China’s iron ore imports (1.17 billion tonnes) were at record levels in 2020.  

Shipping  Cape & Panamax rates strengthened, with ships delayed by cold weather & good demand. 


Port Hedland Iron Ore shipments:  Total (incl China) reduced yoy for Dec, though up mo-on-mo.

Singapore – shipping traffic:  Containers recovering, Bulks down, & tankers recovering in Dec.

Baker Hughes – rig counts World & Nth America:  Saudi reduced rig counts in 2020.

Germany – Industrial Production:  -ve growth for IP but +ve for Durables & construction. 

United Kingdom – Industrial Production:  Still -ve growth in most segments, but improving.

USA – Industrial Production:  IP remains -ve growth .  Mfg capacity is still <80%. 

Japan – LNG prices:  LNG prices are improving on increased demand and increased oil prices.