MarketLine Blog

Posts about Metals & Mining

Tata-ThyssenKrupp merger: Deal will have short-term impact but doubts remain over long term

MarketLine

The merger of the European steel making section of Tata and German based ThyssenKrupp will likely have useful short-term impacts upon European production, but the benefits heading into the long-term future are less clear. Soon to be the second largest steel maker in Europe, the combined company will have sufficient bulk to compete much better with Chinese producers who are under pressure from the central government to consolidate. Chances are the new company will gain substantial efficiencies and improve product quality beyond other major rivals, but this only solves some… Read more

US and China trade talks: Emphasis on steel and tariffs is misguided

MarketLine

The danger of current US policy towards Chinese steel is that damaging tariffs will be imposed. Many observers describe such a policy as the nuclear option because the ability of other countries to impose harmful tariffs on US goods will be just as strong. Troublingly, tariffs would do little to solve the actual problem of dumping on the international market. A policy with many similarities was attempted in 2002 but resulted in a public climb down by the then President Bush after severe job losses were incurred. Tariffs are not… Read more

Australia’s mining sector returning to strong growth: Increasing commodity prices and stabilizing export markets boost the sector

MarketLine

The Australian mining sector is said to have witnessed a boom from 2003 onwards, as demand from China, Japan and other major Asian markets surged as a consequence of strong growth. Simultaneously this strong demand boosted commodity prices, resulting in large profits for the Australian mining sector. However as growth in the Australian mining sector’s largest export market China has decelerated in recent years and fears of stronger decreases in the future emerged, the Australian mining sector has taken a hit. Another major export market Japan too suffered financial instability… Read more

Brexit – the meaning of a messy divorce for the Euro area.

MarketLine

The lending channel between many industries and banks in the Euro area has been far from normal since 2008. This factor puts Britain in a better position to negotiate Brexit next year. The Euro area will embark on a period of further unprecedented slowdown by detaching itself from the world’s fourth largest economy. Credit to industries coming from the banking sector is key for the region to grow as the single currency area has a bank-based model as opposed to a capital market model. Debt financing to companies is largely… Read more

UK Economy – held back by euro area Treaty

MarketLine

The Maastricht Treaty has been slowly asphyxiating any possibility of sustained economic recovery in Britain. It has been partially responsible for the erratic recovery of manufacturing, production and construction industries. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Britain peaked back at pre-crisis level in the second quarter of 2013 driven mainly by the growth of the services industry. This industry is 13 per cent larger in value compared to 2009 (figure below). Production, construction and manufacturing industries are on average 7% smaller than their pre-crisis levels. The majority of UK industries… Read more

Rare earths: rising prices, hidden costs

MarketLine

Will our search for environmentally-friendly energy end up damaging the environment? It could be so. An article in the Guardian this week (03 February 2014, bit.ly/1bUgEVa) describes the threat of pollution from mining rare earth metals, among whose applications are the powerful magnets used in wind turbines and electric car motors. They are also vital raw materials in other high-tech manufactured products from catalysts to optical fibers. Rare earth metals are not actually all that rare, but finding ore bodies with high enough concentrations to mine them economically is difficult…. Read more

Glencore Xstrata: Commodity Prices and Merger aftershocks

MarketLine

When Glencore and Xstrata merged, it created the fourth largest mining company globally and an integral part of many commodities’ supply chains. It looks now however that Xstrata was overvalued and the company could be facing an $8bn loss on mining assets due to weaker conditions in the commodity industry. Following the 16-month acquisition saga, in the company’s first set of results saw a 2% dip in revenue for the first of 2013 compared to last year, and a 9% drop in EBITDA. Two significant macroeconomic events have contributed to… Read more

Alcoa Case Study: Benefiting from Saudi Economic Planning

MarketLine

In 2009, the multinational aluminum producer Alcoa announced a joint venture with the Saudi mining company Ma’aden. Together, they are constructing an integrated bauxite mine and aluminum smelter in Saudi Arabia, pioneering production of this metal in the Kingdom. The project sheds light not only on Alcoa’s commercial strategy, but also on the economic strategy of the government of Saudi Arabia, a country with the mixed blessing of abundant natural resources. Alcoa is a large multinational aluminum player. Like many of its peers, it is vertically integrated, with interests in… Read more

The Base Metals Industry Achieved Robust Growth in 2010 and 2011

MarketLine

  Despite continuing financial and economic uncertainty impacting the global economy, the base metals industry achieved robust growth in 2010 and 2011, in both developed and developing countries. Worldwide production of base metals continued to increase, mostly due to increases in production from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, China, and India. Growth in these countries offset production losses in areas such as Indonesia, South Korea and the US. Base metal production in Brazil stopped falling, growing for the first time since 2008. China remained the leading base metal producing nation, followed by… Read more