The industrial metals market melts down – and more news from our world
Right now things are looking ‘interesting’ for the metal as prices soar and plummet. So far there’s not much sign of things calming down. Here’s the news about aluminium, spiced up with insights into the fortunes of other industrial metals.
It’s boom and bust for industrial metals at LME
They go up, they go down. Industrial metals have gone from boom to bust in just three months. In March we reported on the London Metal Exchange’s suspension of its nickel contract following a dramatic price spike. Now the metal is back to its normal price, trading at about $22,500 per tonne rather than March’s sky high $100,000.
March 2022 also saw copper, aluminium, zinc and tin achieve record prices. Lead was the only LME base metal to stay relatively stable. Now industrial metals are in meltdown, with the most dramatic quarterly drops on the LME since 2008’s global financial crisis.
The reason? Russia’s war on Ukraine. Fears of sanctions against Russian metal drove record highs earlier this year. So far Russian aluminium, copper and nickel haven’t been affected as expected, but traders are getting very worried about a potential energy price-led recession.
China is doing OK so far. Their manufacturing activity shot up in June for the first time since February when a round of lockdowns came to an end. On the other hand the country’s recovery remains at risk from their zero covid policy. Recently, some cities have been tightening restrictions again thanks to a flurry of new covid cases.
Experts recommend using kitchen foil to cool buildings
Kitchen foil plays a role in keeping buildings cool in extreme heat. And at less than £1 a roll, it’s a bargain way to insulate against severe temperatures. Apparently when you spread foil on the windows in direct sunlight, the metal directs both the sun’s rays and the heat it generates away from the building. Because aluminium foil is non-toxic and doesn’t melt until it hits over 600C, it’s a safe way to stay cooler.
Producers tasked with supporting net-zero aluminium in China
China is the world’s largest producer of primary aluminium, accounting for almost 60% of the international market. The sector is responsible for around 5% of the country’s total CO2 emissions. And all this means the world’s aluminium producers can play a vital part in helping China reach its 2060 net-zero target.
The problem is China’s unusually high dependency on coal, the source of over 80% of the energy they use. Low-carbon aluminium in China depends on more than a fast transition to renewables, it also needs to take decarbonisation technologies seriously, making them both scalable and financially viable.
Producers will have to develop and deploy a range of tech to slash emissions in the short, medium and long term. The goal is for China to cut its aluminium processing emissions by 65% over the next 40 years, harnessing everything from recycling to innovative new hydrogen technologies.
Aluminium plant worker shortages in NZ
The boss at New Zealand Aluminium Smelters says it’s getting ever-harder to find, re-train and keep workers at their Tiwai smelter. Like all businesses in New Zealand they’re suffering from a ‘very tight’ labour market, made worse by covid and ‘other illnesses’.
200 lightweight aluminium bodied trains ordered by India
The Indian government has invited tenders for 200 Vande Bharat trains, the first of their kind in the country. Very lightweight, they’ll run at a maximum speed of 125 miles an hour. The government is planning to roll out a total of 400 Vande Bharat trains by the end of 2025, and the trains must also be inherently energy-efficient. The new rolling stock will be made at Rail Coach Naveenikaran Karkhana, half featuring a Concentrated Power System and the rest with a Distributed Power System, another first for India.
Metalex – Staying cool despite the madness
Come to us for your aluminium 5083, your aluminium round bar, all your aluminium grades. Whatever’s going on out there, we’ll make sure you get what you need at a fair price. In the meantime, stay cool!
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