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Global prices of industrial metals fell 24 May after China warned commodities producers and brokers to “maintain market orders” and not drive prices higher.

The world's economic recovery now underway has pushed prices for lumber, copper, cobalt, and other key metals to record levels.

In April, Chinese imports grew 43 percent compared to a year earlier, the fastest expansion on record. During the month, exports rose 32 percent.

After China’s statement, copper’s price slipped 1.6 percent to $9,881 per metric ton on the London Metal Exchange; aluminum dipped 1.09 percent to $2,370 per metric ton. 

Leaders of China’s major producers of aluminum, iron, and steel were summoned to a Sunday meeting at the National Development and Reform Commission to discuss the alarming price spikes, according to the state-controlled Global Times newspaper. 

The meeting followed the Chinese government’s 20 May announcement that it would take tighter control over the materials’ availability and use to tamp down “unreasonable” price hikes.

It also said it would investigate behavior that jacks up prices.

Following that warning, speculators shorted metals markets and traders sold supplies, pushing domestic prices of some commodities down by as much as 5 percent.

Commodities prices also softened as a result of the Biden administration’s decision to scale back its infrastructure spending from $2.3 billion to $1.7 billion.

TREND FORECAST: While governments will do what they can to drive down inflation, it is purely a supply and demand issue. With much of the world winding down the COVID War, consumer spending will increase, which will drive up prices. 

Thus, we maintain our forecast that while prices of many commodities will decline from record highs, their price points will remain far above where they were before the COVID War was launched. Therefore, inflation will continue to rise. 

  1. harlow53 1 year ago

    As usual, we have a fool in the White House who has bowed to the direction of China to outsource metals production now and in the future. This means American metals producers will have to shutdown more industrial in America!!!

    The decisions by the current administration to outsource industrial metals production as directed by China!!! We are going broke and being strategically governed by the Chinese Communist Party!!!

  2. Eagle11 1 year ago

    No one held a gun to corporate America to relocate to China, least of all China. They all ran over there to take advantage of slave labor in pursuit of profit – nothing more.

    It increased earnings thereby boosting stock valuations, and the huge trade surplus that China enjoyed was recycled (until recently) to buy US Treasury Bills and Bonds. What big spending politician doesn’t love that!

    Of course the average consumer would never complain as long as they can save a few bucks at the checkout counter.

    Whether it’s rare earths or steel or washing machines, the US Government was just fine with selling out America’s middle class. So were the union bosses.

    By the way, as a result of Trump’s failed trade war, many of these companies moved from mainland China to Vietnam, S. Korea and India. Are Vietnam India and Korea the bad boys now that we have a rising trade dificit with them? Are they now the ‘enemy’?

    Bash other countries all you want but the reality is these are all self inflicted wounds.

  3. […] As we noted in our 25 May, 2021, issue (“Metal Prices Fall After China Warns Sellers”), while governments will do what they can to drive down inflation, it is purely a supply and demand […]

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