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
The World Bank rattled commodities and equities markets by lowering its 2015 world economic-growth projection to 3 from 3.4 percent. It forecast China growth at 7.1 percent. It said India’s economy should jump from 2014’s 5.6-percent growth to 6.4-percent expansion this year and edge past China in 2017. Projected 2015 euro-area expansion was 1.1 percent, up from 2014’s 0.8 percent.
The International Monetary Fund lowered global economic-growth forecasts to 3.5-percent this year and 3.7-percent in 2016, cutting 0.3 points for each year. The U.S. was an economic bright spot, with projected 2015 growth hiked to 3.6 percent from 3.1 and largely offsetting euro-area weakness.
The European Central Bank unveiled an aggressive stimulus programme to counter Eurozone stagnation. It will buy €60 billion (US$70 billion) in mostly government bonds monthly from March 2015 through September, 2016, pumping €1 trillion (US$1.16 trillion) in new money into the Eurozone. The ECB wants a lower euro and higher managed inflation to spur deflation-killing economic activity. QE arrived despite German reservations. Central banks will assume 80 percent of credit risk. As a result, the euro skidded to a near 11 year low at 1.12 against the dollar.
Greece's left-wing Syriza party won elections but despite its anti-austerity measure and concerns on Greece's willingness to fully repay its EUR 315bn debt, European markets did not panic.
China’s President Xi Jinping pledged US$250 billion in investment in Latin America for 10 years. Xi said two-way trade between China and Latin America should reach US$500 billion by 2025.
Moody’s Investor Service lowered its base-metals-industry outlook to negative from stable. It blamed China’s slower economic growth, falling copper prices, and Europe’s weakness. It said U.S. strength was not enough to overcome weakness elsewhere. Tightened credit and reduced infrastructure spending contributed.
The U.S. added 252,000 jobs in December; the best since 1999. The unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent from 5.8. Wages, however, were stagnant. Hourly earnings rose just 1.7 percent in a year; barely ahead of inflation’s 1.3-percent rate.
U.S. industrial output rose by a healthy 4.3 percent in 2014. U.S. single-family housing starts jumped 7.2 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 728,000. Total housing starts climbed 4.4 percent to a 1.09-million pace.
U.S. retail sales fell 0.9 percent in December after a 0.4-percent increase in November.
UK inflation tumbled in December to a 0.5-percent rate from November’s 1 percent.
British carmakers reported their best December in a decade. They produced 109,000 vehicles; up 27 percent on-year. It was the strongest year since 2007, with more than 1.5 million cars produced in 2014. The yearly figure rose 1.2 percent on-year despite weakness in some export markets.
Still, December manufacturing was slower than expected, primarily on fewer non-UK orders. A Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index fell on-month to 52.5 from 53.3.