Continued risk of strike in Chilean copper mines, higher Indonesian tin exports

by David Fleschen

Metal prices stabilized after their subdued start to the week yesterday - the LME industrial metals index lost a well-about 1%. Copper is again rising above USD 9,400 per ton. In Chile, the risk of a strike at the world's largest copper mine "Escondida" has not been averted, but the mine operator made concessions to the union last night, so that at least negotiations are continuing. Collective bargaining talks are also to continue at the "Andina" copper mine for the time being. In contrast, workers at the "Caserones" mine have decided to go on strike from today. However, the mine is rather small with a production of just over 100 thousand tons of copper. Nickel remains this morning at just over USD 18,700 per tonne, well below the USD 19,000 mark below which it had fallen yesterday.

With a minus of 3%, nickel was the biggest loser among the industrial metals yesterday. Tin, on the other hand, continues to hold near its record high at almost USD 35,000 per ton. There was further encouraging news from the supply side yesterday: Indonesia, the world's largest tin exporter, exported 6,561 tons of tin in July, 35% more than a year earlier, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce. At the same time, this was the second largest amount this year. After the first seven months of the year, Indonesian tin exports are thus now higher than in the same period last year, i.e. the initial shortfall has been completely made up. High prices, which make the production and export of tin attractive, are likely to have played a role in this. In our view, the global tin market is now much better supplied than a few months ago. The near-record high tin price is therefore not justified in our opinion. As with the other industrial metals, we expect a noticeable correction for tin in the further course of the year.

Source: Commerzbank Research, Photo: Fotolia

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