SPOTLIGHT: A true picture of metal supply and demand?

Just a couple of years ago, the daily movements of stock into and out of London Metal Exchange-approved warehouses were eagerly watched as a leading indicator of supply and demand.

Now, with vast amounts of aluminium stored outside of the LME reporting system, the importance of the daily stock reports has significantly diminished. Take a trip to Detroit in the USA and you can see aluminium stacked up in the fields. Head to Vlissingen in the Netherlands and it’s a similar story, this time in and around the port. Interestingly, anecdotal evidence suggests the culprits of this non-LME storage are neither Metro International Trade Services nor Pacorini Metals, the two warehousing companies that store the overwhelming majority of metal in Detroit and Vlissingen, respectively. It is being kept outside the reporting system by other warehouse companies, as well as banks and other investors – many of which do not have facilities in these locations and who can avoid the cheap rent by leaving it outside, people familiar with the matter say. That is not to say these firms do not...


Andrea Hotter

October 02, 2012

18:47 GMT

New York