Monthly Metal Review
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
Led by copper and zinc, commodities fell on concern that global economic recovery could weaken. China experienced slower-than-expected growth and European car sales slid to a 20-year low. China’s trade with the U.S. had surged in first quarter, with March exports up on improved U.S. economic performance. But trade with Europe declined. Still, Freeport-McMoRan's CEO Richard Adkerson expressed confidence in the long-term copper market because of strong fundamentals, including China's needs.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) banned exports of unrefined copper and cobalt concentrates effective in July. But the governor of Katanga, Congo's copper- and cobalt-mining province, as of yet will not enforce the ban. Governor Moise Katumbi stated that DRC lacks the sufficient electricity that is required for the refining process. The Congo is the largest cobalt producer and has exported 650,000 tonnes of copper in 2012. According to Katumbi 30 percent of that production was concentrate. The DRC has previously tried to ban concentrate exports in 2007 and 2010.
The International Monetary Fund lowered its 2013 world-growth forecast from 3.5 to 3.3 per-cent and predicted 4 -percent 2014 global growth. It predicted 1.9-percent U.S. and 8-percent China 2013 growth. China reported 7.7-percent first quarter expansion; below fourth quarter's 7.9 but above the 7.5-percent target.
German business confidence fell in April as winter weather hindered recovery. The Ifo insti-tute in Munich said its business-climate index dropped to 104.4 from 106.7. Automaker Opel said it will close its Bochum plant by 2015; the first German car-factory closure in decades.
Barrick Gold Corp halted construction of its $8-billion Pascua-Lama gold-silver mine in Chile after a Chilean court ordered suspension to con-sider indigenous-communities' claims that the cross-border project destroys glaciers and harms water supply. Construction continues in Argen-tina, but 80 percent of metal reserves are Chilean. An appeals court upheld suspension.
A Swiss political party gathered enough signatures to force a referendum within five years on barring the Swiss National Bank from selling gold reserves. It would require at least 20 percent of assets in gold. Zambia was poised to force mining companies to deposit earnings from copper and other mineral exports into Zambian banks before moving money offshore.
The Philippine government expects 2013 direct foreign investments in the mining sector of $1 billion and $2 billion in 2014. Mining investments were a reported $500 million last year. Manila lifted a two-year ban on mining applications earlier this year, reopening access to $850 billion in mineral reserves.