Singapore – China

Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’.  

Matau’s Comments:

  • For many countries the depths fo the covid-pandemic were March – June 2020, so yr-on-yr growth rates for even modest recovery from covid will likely report strong positive growth rates for Mar-Jun 2021, for perhaps modest recoveries not even back to pre-covid levels.   Being aware of that statistical outcome it may be wise to look at mo-on-mo growth, of the overall trend rather than the ‘number’.  This is particularly the case with this issue’s Singapore shipping data and China’s industry and energy data.
    • This week several notes refer to disruptions to supply contributed by issues with the covid-19 pandemic.
  • Most commodity markets (Cu, Co, Zn, Pb)  are showing signs of increased tight (labour or raw materials) conditions, witnessed in the pinch-point graphs.
    • Precious metals remain under some pressure, though there are abundant geopolitical and other risks available, and visible to the market. 
  • It appears now that Australian coking coal is being discharged at least in some in Chinese ports, however customs clearances are not a given, particularly in the current political environment.  
  • A real oddity remains with China’s claims to want to constrain imports of feedstocks and to limit or even reduce steel production, yet continue to target GDP growth rates in excess of 6%.  Similarly China’s forecasts of iron ore prices at USD 100/t in 12-18 months seem incongruent with clearly strong demand for iron ore, from China and emerging nations.   With current demand growth development of Simandou may contribute to meeting growth requirements for about 4-5 years before another is required …?


Copper  Antofagasta reports lower Cu production due to disruption from a surge in covid-cases.  

Cobalt  China Molybdenum has joined a program to assist artisanal (DRC) miners responsibly produce Co. 

Nickel  Tsingshan’s ‘breakthrough’ production of Ni matte from NPI might face difficulties.  .

Zinc & Lead  Peru’s high covid infection rates, and low vaccination rates, are impacting Zn and Pb production.  

Tin  Sn continues to face strong demand and supply issues.  Exports from key smelters are delayed.      

Aluminium  Al production can be a barometer for industry in manufacturing and infrastructure sectors.

Gold  Au price is responding to USA yields stabilising and a stable USD. 

Platinum & Palladium  Market is betting improved industrial demand and emission controls will benefit Pt prices.

Oil  Iraq has potential to become a larger oil producer than Saudi Arabia.  Some hurdles to be passed.

Coal  Some Australian cargoes allowed to discharge, but will customs clearance be granted? 

Iron Ore  Surging Chinese steel output has raised demand for iron ore and raised prices. 

Shipping  Freight rates surged this week, on recovering demand.


Port of Singapore – shipping:  Containers report +ve growth, Bulks and Tankers -ve growth.

China – Industry and Energy ouput:  Cleary recovering from the covid-19 pandemic.