HOTTER ON METALS: The coronavirus’ double whammy supply-demand shock

While countries start to lock down their borders to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), mining companies are beginning to halt production, delay projects and withdraw staff.

It is a natural response to a very unexpected situation that would only worsen if left unchecked. For the mining sector, it means a raft of production from projects and operations around the world is being removed from the supply equation. While this may leave some metals and mining industry participants rubbing their hands at the prospect of a constrained supply chain once the virus passes, a very important question remains: what about demand? During the 2007-08 global financial crisis, the economic downturn crimped demand in key commodity-consuming markets like automotive and aerospace. Metals prices had been at record highs after a commodities super cycle, and inventories were relatively high in key markets like aluminium. It took several years to recover, with the markets working through surplus warehoused stocks and miners learning the tough lesson that being the biggest is not always the best approach. The difference in 2020 is that in...

Published

Andrea Hotter

March 19, 2020

02:47 GMT

New York