Good news for the British Steel industry!

In what is long overdue after months of fear and protests over the loss of thousands of jobs in the UK Steel market, there is finally something to be cheerful about. Tata Steelwas the catalyst for the protests from British workers, who were campaigning for the saviour of their jobs, after the company made the decision to cancel their manufacturing operations in the UK. The decision from Tata Steel left at least 2’000 jobs effected directly and up to 8’000 at risk due to related businesses being affected.

However, after some anxious few months, a company in the form of Industrial and commodity group Liberty House have made a bid in an attempt to reduce at least some of the arrears. Liberty House have made a bid which is understood to be in the region of £100 million for three of Tata’s steelwork depots, these being in Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Hartlepool, they employ 1’235, 831 and 501 workers respectively. Liberty House has already purchased the Scotland business operations from Tata Steel, so these new acquisitions will add and improve to their ongoing portfolio.

The bid has not yet been accepted as its understood Tata are still in talks with a number of other interested parties, in addition to this, Tata are also still in talks with German rival Thyssenkrupp over a possible mergence, which would include the acquirement of the UK operations. However, they have continued to discuss the sale of separate areas of their UK operations and will go ahead with them should offers be concluded before any deal is made with Thyssenkrupp.
Although, it is only a quarter of the workforce that is likely to be saved from this particular deal, it is good to see Tata have interested parties and the

Base Metals shows a collective decline

Across the board on Monday, base metals saw a decline which is a reflection of weak stock markets in Asia whilst also suggesting a revival from the dollar.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite was last down 1.76 percent at 2,980.429 while the dollar index was last at 95.39 having recovered from selling pressure last week following news that the US Federal Reserve would not raise interest rates his month.
Last week all market eyes were on the FED of the US and the Bank of Japan, whom were both making significant policy announcements. However, all eyes have taken a turn towards politics with the highly anticipated first debate of the Presidential election race taking place between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump; it will be interesting to see how the base metals market reacts on Tuesday.
In the metals, copper at $4,820 per tonne was down $35 on the pre-weekend close, while around 4,000 lots have changed hands on Select so far. There were further deliveries into listed warehouses in Busan, Gwangyang, Port Klang and Singapore – total stocks rose a net 7,250 tonnes to 364,125 tonnes and are holding around one-year highs.
Aluminium at $1,626 was $11 lower although stocks continued to fall. Inventories were down 10,700 tonnes to 2,136,025 tonnes due to decreases in Vlissingen and Singapore. Cancelled warrants rose – metal that had been warranted into Asian sheds was cancelled – to 881,350 tonnes, up 14,250 tonnes.


Lead at $1,910 was down $19.50 on talk that Trafigura will rewarrant large tonnages into Europe. Moves today, however, were marginal, with just 300 tonnes arriving into Leghorn. Stocks rose 250 tonnes to 191,250 tonnes while cancelled warrants fell 50 tonnes to 66,150 tonnes.
Zinc at $2,251 was down $14; stocks fell 650 tonnes to 442,000 tonnes. Nickel was $200 lower at $10,460 although it continued to find support from news of mine closures in Philippines. Traders also noted that the metal looks positive from a technical perspective.
Tin at $19,630 was $15 lower. Stocks were unchanged at 3,715 tonnes but cancelled warrants rose 95 tonnes to 1,955 tonnes, dropping on-warrant material to its lowest since 2005 at 1,760 tonnes.
Still, investor sentiment looks brighter – according to CFTC statistics, they nearly halved their net short positions on Comex to 19,600 contracts in the week to September 20 mainly via short-covering.

Among major steel producers, India is growing the fastest

The month of August saw India making the fastest levels of growth, among the world’s major steel producers. As a country, India produced 8.4 million tonnes of crude steel, an impressive 9.4% growth from the same period last year; the growth is even more impressive when you consider that global increase was just 1.9%. 

China, who are by far and away the world’s largest producer of steel saw a steady growth of 3% from the corresponding period last year, 68.6 million tonnes of Steel was produced. In comparison, Japan, the world’s second largest producer of steel had an output of 8.9 MT, which was an increase of 1.5%. Among the other big name producers of Steel, the US produced 6.7 MT, Russia 5.9 MT and South Korea 5.8 MT. 

Outside of the top 6 but still within big producers, Turkey made the most significant growth in August with a 12.9% increase, seeing them produce 12.9 Million tonnes. 
Currently the third largest steel producer in the world, India’s production has been growing constantly since the beginning of the current year. During the first eight months of the present year, India’s production growth has been the highest at 5.6%.

Considering the small gap between Japan and India and the respective growth rates, it surely can’t too long till India find themselves as the 2nd largest producer of steel in the world. 

Costa Rica is setting the benchmark for the rest of the world!

In what is quite a remarkable achievement but has largely gone unnoticed, is Costa Rica’s use of renewable energy. Costa Rica is currently on an 88 day streak of using 100% renewable energy, showing that the world that it is indeed possible to function without fossil fuels. This 88 day streak is however not a sudden emergence, it brings the total days in 2016 to over 150, which although impressive, means they are going to struggle to beat their incredible record of 299 days in 2015.

It is important to point out that Costa Rica does have a considerable smaller size and population than a number of the world’s countries, in addition to their industries being very much agricultural and tourism based, as opposed to many other countries in the world that rely on high energy based industries. However, it cannot be argued that Costa Rica are performing admirably and setting the benchmarks for other countries to target.
It’s a satisfying thought to think that in the not too distant future, it’s likely that Costa Rica will be able to function annually on just the use of renewable energy.

Hanjin given a lifeline!

Hanjin Shipping has been handed a massive get out of jail free card, courtesy of the South Korean government. The government has stated that they will provide Hanjin with the funding required, in a bid to keep the financially crippled shipping giant afloat.

Seoul has announced it will give Hanjin in excess of $91m, whilst also providing low-interest rates. The news has been welcomed from investors around the world, with shares in the company rising by 20%. Last week, news that the company had filed for bankruptcy sent alarm bells ringing around the world to shipping ports and retailers, unsure whether they will receive payment or merchandise respectively. Therefore shipping ports were refusing the ships permission to dock and causing much of Hanjin’s fleet to be stranded at sea and with the risk of being seized, due to payment failure.

The fact Hanjin’s woes made headlines around the world was hardly surprising, considering the fact they are the seventh biggest shipping line and due to the abysmal financial state of the shipping currently, it was only a matter of time till there was a casualty. To put it in perspective, consecutive years of fierce competition and poor performances from Hanjin saw a staggering $5.4 billion of debt accumulated.
You have to wonder whether the $91m being offered is going to be enough, considering the amount of debt Hanjin has amassed, nevertheless, let’s hope for the time being at least, Hanjin can finally deliver the merchandise that has been stranded at sea.

Audi set to compete with Tesla

As with what seems like every car manufacturer in the world, Audi have announced they are aiming to rival Tesla in the electric vehicle industry. Rupert Stadler, the chief executive of the Audi has reportedly given the all clear for an all-electric luxury Sedan to be designed and constructed in a bid to challenge the highly successful Model S of the Tesla brand.

If all the objectives of Audi are met then it would be very reasonable for them to expect to challenge the Model S, reportedly going to be called the ‘A9 e-tron’, it’s expected to be able to travel 300 miles per one full life of battery, will be a level 4 for autonomous driving and is going to consist of three electric motors.

Stadler has stated that Audi intends on having three different electric vehicles in its fleet by 2020 and by 2025, wants 25% of all sales to be accounted for by battery powered vehicles. In January, the Audi group committed to building an all-electric SUV using the concept established from their e-tron Quattro range, it’s expected that production of SUV will begin in 2018.
Anyway, back to the Sedan, Audi have said that the ‘A9 e-tron’ will follow on from the impressive features of the e-tron Quattro and expand further. Arguably the most impressive feature was that of the re-charging plate, where by the vehicle parking over it, it will then charge your car as opposed to having to plug it in. In addition to this, the autonomous setting on the ‘A9 e-tron’ is going to enable the car to drive itself to a parking spot where there is an accessible re-charging plate.
So Tesla, do you have it within you to maintain a mass share of the market, despite big name brands entering the industry?

You have to give the pope one gift… what would it be?

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has gifted Pope Francis a model of a solar powered drone. The idea behind the ‘Aquila drone’ is that it will have the capability to beam connectivity to remote places, without the use of the internet.

“Together they spoke about how to use communications technology to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and to communicate a message of hope, especially to the most disadvantaged,” said Vatican press office director Greg Burke in a statement.

The drone is designed to be completely dependent on solar power and is expected to be able to fly between 60’000 and 90’000 feet in the air. The end goal is for the drone to be able to stay in the air for as long as 90 days and to enable broadband connections for up to a 60-mile radius on the ground. This is not your average size drone though; the frame weighs just less than 1’000 pounds and has a wing expansion that exceeds that of a Boeing 737 airplane.
Renewable energy is the way forward and it’s relieving to see one of the world’s most influential figures embracing and encouraging the change.