Monthly Metal Review
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Many of the world’s topflight miners saw shakeups at the top this month as companies adjusted to a tighter economic and operating cli-mate.
The new CEOs of the major companies are likely to have more modest ambitions in an era of stringent capital management and an emphasis on shareholder returns.
Goldberg said Newmont will consider only its most promising opportunities to come. The fate of its Conga copper-gold project in Peru, currently on hold, is to be decided this year.
Mining according to some seems to be facing a capital strike, indicating at a 25-percent yearly drop in funds raised in 2012. Mining and metals firms raised $249 billion in 2012, down from $340 billion in 2011 thanks to a sharp drop in proceeds from bank loans and IPOs. Banks lent miners and metals companies $106 billion in 2012, down 43 percent from 2011.
In the last week of February zinc producers and buyers gathered in Cancun for the International Zinc Conference. They agreed on the new benchmark for treatment charges and escalators for 2013, as further detailed in our Zinc section.
In other economic news, U.S. housing figures dipped but remained strong. Starts fell 8.5 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 890,000, missing forecasts of a 3.1 percent fall. December's figures were revised upward to a rate of 973,000 new homes started. Compared with a year ago, new home construction was up 23.6 percent. Housing starts have significant impact on US materials imports, including copper. China said its services sector had grown for a fourth straight month in January, although the slim gain signaled any recovery was modest. The European Commission predicted the Eurozone economy will shrink by 0.3 percent in 2013 but said it expects a rebound near the end of the year. Credit-ratings agency Moody's cut the UK from AAA to AA1.
A White House plan to fix aging U.S. infra-structure would invest $50 billion in transporta-tion, with $40 billion of that for highways, bridges, airports and transit systems. The plan includes initiatives involving work that capitalises on private investment and minimises a need for Congressional approval. There are some 70,000 structurally deficient bridges.
In London, Lloyds TSB reported that house-hold spending power in Britain has declined 1.4 percent since last year, with gas and electricity taking more of the average household budget.
The latest Eurozone PMI fell to 47.3 in February, down from January's 48.6. Numbers below 50 signify contraction. The February finding was the lowest for two months and indicated a German-French divergence, with output going up in Germany but declining in France.