China, Industry & Energy & Transport

Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’.  

Matau’s Comments:

  • Base metal markets are tightening further. (pinch points & prices).  Notably Ni & Cu.
  • 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).   
  • 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.  


*Copper  Cu market is tight, but Chinas’ imports of Cu conc from key supplier (Australia) have stopped.

*Cobalt  Price rising on expectations of EV demand.  Cobalt in batteries helps protect from corrosion & fire.

*Nickel  Rally in Ni price considered over-hyped (not on fundamentals). Supply is expanding.  High-nickel batteries can store more energy and provide greater EV driving range.

Zinc & Lead  Vedanta has resumed mining at Gamsberg.  Trevali plans to restart Caribou. 

Tin  ELT buoyed by Sn intercepts at Oropesa, and economic study.     

Aluminium  UAE is producing aluminium with solar power.

Gold  Conflicting drivers continue for gold.  Watch FOMC & Biden stimulus plans. 

Platinum & Palladium  Li battery designs that include PGMS are being patented, but may take time to commercialise. 

*Oil  EIA expects 2021 demand to exceed supply.  Prices are forecast to increase only modestly. 

Coal  Asian market: supply of thermal coal remained tight across Asia. 

Iron Ore  China’s crude steel output exceeded a record billion tonnes in 2020. 

Shipping  Shipping rates in Asia eased on slowing demand for iron ore this week. 


*China – Transport – Freight & Passengers:  Freight growth is strong.  Passengers is slower, recovering from almost total lockdown 11 months ago. 

*China – Industry & Energy Output:  largely positive growth in most areas (notably except wine & beer).