SP Angel . Morning View . Friday 11 09 20
Gold and copper remain strong as sterling slips on Euro gains
MiFID II exempt information – see disclaimer below
Anglo American () – De Beers reports early signs of recovering diamond sales demand
Arkle Resources* () – Next phase of drilling at Stonepark
Chaarat Gold* () – BUY – Kapan on course for 55koz AuEq FY20 production target and stronger earnings in H2/20
Rio Tinto () – The untold story behind the resignation of CEO, Jean-Sebastian Jacques
Diamond prices for 0.3ct and 0.5ct stones rise nearly 15% on September 2019
- Rapaport’s RapNet Diamond Index shows strong recovery in diamond prices with 0.3ct and 0.5ct stones now nearly 15% higher yoy .
- 1ct stones are back to where they were yoy while larger 3ct stones remain around 5% lower yoy.
- 0.3ct and 0.5ct stones had performed well to end January 2020before pulling back through the lockdown.
- The subsequent, strong recovery in diamond prices for engagement rings feels similar to the strong recovery seen in the Global Financial Crisis leading us to look forward to strong demand for diamonds for engagement rings and jewellery.
- Prices for 3.0ct stones remain lower following the trend for caution from more wealthy buyers
- See DeBeers (Anglo American) comment below:
Dow Jones Industrials -1.45% at 27,535
Nikkei 225 +0.74% at 23,406
HK Hang Seng +0.64% at 24,470
Shanghai Composite +0.79% at 3,260
US – New jobless claims were little changed from the previous week at 884,000 data released on Thursday showed while continuing claims increased to 13.4m.
Both were higher than forecast and suggest that more stimulus is likely needed to support the labour market, Bloomberg reports.
China – Vehicle sales rose 11.6% yoy in August to 2.189m new vehicles in August
Sales of trucks, vans and other commercial vehicles rose by 41.6% accounting for around a quarter of the market
EV sales jumped 25.8% to 109,000 vehicles
Overall vehicle sales fell 9.7% from January to August to 14.55m vehicles.
Chinese vehicle sales may fall 11% representing 1.1m lost sales (Trading Economics).
Sales of excavators increased 51.3% in the first eight months of this year to 20,939 units (China Construction Machinery Association).
Total excavator sales already close to 90% of that seen in 2019
Local governments raised issuance of special purpose bonds by 51% to RMB 2.56tn ($375bn) As of 16 August.
Local government special-purpose bonds are an important source of infrastructure construction funding.
ECB – The central bank left the size of its stimulus programme and interest rates unchanged yesterday driving the € higher.
Christine Lagarde said the ECB believed that existing stimulus measures were both “efficient and effective” while also playing down concerns over the appreciating € saying the bank would “monitor carefully” exchange rate movements.
Additionally, the ECB raised its 2020 GDP estimates expecting a -8% contraction for the year compared to -8.7% estimated in June.
2021 GDP estimates were changed only marginally and lowered from 5.2% to 5%.
The headline inflation projections were broadly unchanged.
The chief economist of the central bank warned of no room for complacency dialling down the more upbeat tone of Christine Lagarde message yesterday.
Philip Lane highlighted asymmetric nature of the economic recovery in the eurozone while also mentioning stronger euro dampening the inflation outlook.
Final inflation numbers in Germany and Spain for August released this morning showed both countries were in deflation with respective hanges in CPI of -0.1%yoy and -0.6%yoy.
Euro hits six-month high vs pound on Brexit concerns
Sterling weakened against major currencies on Thursday as relations between the UK and EU worsened.
Brussels gave Boris Johnson three weeks to drop plans to break international law regarding Northern Ireland’s position in the Brexit deal.
The Pound-to-Euro exchange rate has fallen over 3.4% so far this week, taking sterling back to a level last seen in mid-March.
The pound also weakened against the dollar, shedding 1.8 cents yesterday to $1.2821- its lowest level since late July.
UK – UK – Sterling slips on UK GDP
The economy grew 6.6%mom in July posting a positive reading for a third consecutive month as virus restriction rules were gradually eased.
The services sector accounting for around 80% of the economy increased by 6.1%.
Growth in the manufacturing sector slowed to 6.3% from 11% recorded in the previous month.
The economy remains 11.7% smaller compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“While it has continued steadily on the path towards recovery, the UK economy still has to make up nearly half of the GDP lost since the start of the pandemic,” ONS director of economic statistics said.
GDP (%%mom): 6.6 in July v 8.7 in June and 6.7 est.
Flu and pneumonia killed TEN TIMES as many Brits as Covid last week, stats reveal
The Sun reports that influenza and pneumonia are killed many more people in the UK than COVID-19 last week.
The ONS stats reveal that 12.6% of all deaths were caused by flu and pneumonia while 1.1% of deaths mentioned COVID-19 in week 35 of the pandemic down from 1.4% in week 34
The leading cause of death are Dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as Ischaemic heart diseases followed by Bronchus and lung conditions.
Sudan – State of economic emergency declared after sharp fall in currency
Inflation was 143.8% in July, and the government are in the process of setting up special courts to prosecute a “systematic operation” to vandalise the economy.
The pound has sharply declined in recent weeks, with government officials blaming manipulation by those apposing the transitional government.
Authorities say that people are selling gold at above market price to intentionally move the exchange rate.
US$1.1841/eur vs 1.1828/eur yesterday. Yen 106.16/$ vs 106.07/$. SAr 16.782/$ vs 16.650/$. $1.284/gbp vs $1.302/gbp. 0.729/aud vs 0.727/aud. CNY 6.837/$ vs 6.838/$.
Gold US$1,942/oz vs US$1,945/oz yesterday
Gold ETFs 109.7moz vs US$109.7moz yesterday
US$929/oz vs US$924/oz yesterday
Palladium US$2,287/oz vs US$2,293/oz yesterday
Silver US$26.72/oz vs US$26.96/oz yesterday
Copper US$ 6,679/t vs US$6,652/t yesterday – Benchmark TC/RCs for copper concentrates likely to fall further.
Copper Tc/Rcs likely to fall to lowest level since 2011 at $60/t & $0.60/lb on tight mine supply from $62/t & $0.062/lb earlier this year.
The benchmark has fallen every year since being struck at $107/t & $0.107c/lb in 2015 due principally to increasing smelter capacity in China chasing too little copper concentrate to go round.
China copper scrap imports expected to drop 50% this year
China imported 1.49mt of scrap copper last year, and so far this year the government has granted import quotas for 743,140 tonnes.
The country has been limiting scrap purchases as it tries to cut imports on solid waste, and is aiming for a blanket ban on solid waste imports by the end of 2020.
A new solid waste law took effect at the beginning of this month, which has made shipping lines reluctant to ship soon to be banned material to China (Reuters).
The new laws raise concerns over an imminent supply shortage, although officials have given companies the opportunity to apply for certification which makes the import of such material easier for the remainder of the year.
Aluminium US$ 1,783/t vs US$1,775/t yesterday
Nickel US$ 14,825/t vs US$14,830/t yesterday – Mothballed nickel mines have reduced battery-grade supply by 15% this year
The placement of two major nickel mining operations on care and maintenance has removed 15% of this year’s forecast of battery-grade nickel, according to the president of Giga Metals Corp.
Vale’s Goro operation in New Caledonia and Sumitomo’s Ambatovy operation in Madagascar represent around 71,000 tonnes of nickel, with global production forecast to be around 477,000 tonnes this year.
Vale placed Goro under C&M last week, whereas Ambatovy was suspended in March. These projects have an annual capacity of close to 120,000t of nickel and 10,000t of cobalt.
Nickel sulphate prices hit new annual highs last Friday at 27,000-28,000 yuan/t which is 11% higher than price at the beginning of the year, and the increase is attributed to supply concerns (Fastmarkets MB).
Zinc US$ 2,447/t vs US$2,396/t yesterday
Lead US$ 1,894/t vs US$1,882/t yesterday
Tin US$ 17,890/t vs US$17,860/t yesterday
Oil US$39.9/bbl vs US$40.7/bbl yesterday
In a welcome boost to Libya’s decimated oil industry, it has been reported that US oil company Hess may attempt to load a cargo of crude oil from Libya’s Es Sider port this week
If successful, the loading represents a glimmer of hope for oil-rich Libya who has had its oil production brought down to just 100,000bopd amid port closures as a result of the civil unrest, from 1.2MMbopd at the start of the year
Libya’s National Oil Company said earlier this week that a warship had been staying at the Ras Lanuf oil terminal, adding that its oil terminals remain out of service, having not exported any oil since January.
Libya’s National Oil Company declared a force majeure on Libya’s oil ports—including Es Sider, after the LNA blockaded the ports.
A closure of all the oil ports in the Gulf of Sirte resulted in a wave of blackouts in the country, as condensate reservoirs filled up, leaving no room to house the associated gas that is produced alongside the condensate
Libya’s oil industry is also battling a wave of Covid-19 infections, with Monday seeing the highest number of new cases since the start of the pandemic
Elsewhere, the surge in COVID-19 cases in many parts of the world, the end of a weak peak-summer demand season in the Northern Hemisphere, and the cessation of record crude purchases by Chinese refiners in the second quarter have created a chain of events that has crude oil futures falling significantly
Currently Brent crude is down to US$40.1/bbl while West Texas Intermediate futures are down a considerable 7% to US$37.5/bbl
The sell-off comes after news over the weekend that Saudi Arabia was cutting crude prices for October shipments to both Asian and US refining customers
This marks the first time since early in 2020 that the petro state has lowered prices for crude shipments to the US, putting its selling price to Asia back below the country’s target benchmark as Chinese shipments weaken after months of stockpiling
It’s the second consecutive month of reductions for barrels to the region and the first month in six that US refiners will see a cut
Natural Gas US$2.306/mmbtu vs US$2.395/mmbtu yesterday
Natural gas prices moved lower dropping more than 3% as milder weather began to spread across the United States
Storms continue to brew in the Atlantic Ocean and now the Gulf of Mexico
Tropical storms Paulette and Rene are moving east, northeast, but are not expected to hit or impact any natural gas installation in the US
There is a third disturbance coming off the coast of Africa, which has a 50% chance of turning into a tropical cyclone in the next 48-hours according to NOAA
There is also a storm in the Gulf that has a 20% change of becoming a tropical cyclone
Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$120.8/t vs US$121.5/t – Chinese iron ore stocks rise to five-month high
Port inventories of iron ore have rebounded to the highest level since the 10th of April, as global flows of cargo improve.
Stockpiles swelled to 119mt this week, a rapid rise from levels in mid-June which were the lowest since 2016.
Shipments from Brazil have begun to climb as the country contains the coronavirus, whilst Port Headland has set a series of monthly records so far this year.
Logistical issues along with strong Chinese demand has seen iron ore futures at prices last seen in 2014, however this latest port data could be a headwind for prices (Bloomberg).
Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$550.0/t vs US$551.9/t
Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$57.0/t vs US$56.8/t
Coking coal swap Australia FOB US$136.0/t vs US$136.0/t
Cobalt LME 3m US$33,200/t vs US$33,200/t
NdPr Rare Earth Oxide (China) US$49,584/t vs US$49,720/t
Lithium carbonate 99% (China) US$4,973/t vs US$4,972/t
Ferro Vanadium 80% FOB (China) US$30.5/kg vs US$30.5/kg
Antimony Trioxide 99.5% EU (China) US$5.2/kg vs US$5.2/kg
Tungsten APT European US$212-220/mtu vs US$210-215/mtu
Graphite flake 94% C, -100 mesh, fob China US$430/t vs US$430/t
Graphite spherical 99.95% C, 15 microns, fob China US$2,275/t vs US$2,275/t
First electric forecourt nears completion
The first dedicated electric forecourt near Braintree in Essex is nearing completion.
Construction began in March and is expected to be completed in November following coronavirus related delays.
The forecourt is the first in a £1bn nationwide network of 100 forecourts by Gridserve. The site will have space for 24 EVs to simultaneously charge at a rate of up to 350kW with charge times of 20-30 mins.
Gridserve is a sustainable energy solutions provider with utility scale solar and battery storage solutions and remote power solutions alongside the flagship EV charging network.
The network of forecourts will be powered by clean, zero carbon solar energy and battery storage projects which will also be constructed by Gridserve.
Gridserve is also developing an App to support the driver experience enabling customers to plan journeys, reserve charging slots and pay for ancillary on site services like a car wash.
The network of electric forecourts is a significant step forward for the UK EV charging network. The options provided to customers via the app could be a glimpse of the future of charging services and could be a major contributor to breaking down resistance to the EV transition.
Uber makes commitment to EV
Ride hailing service Uber has committed to becoming a zero-emission platform by 2040 with 100% of rides taking place in zero-emissions vehicles.
The Company has also committed to 100% of rides taking place in EVs in US, Canadian and European cities by 2030. Uber will also be working towards net-zero emissions from corporate operations by the same date.
Uber is committing $800mn to help drivers transition to EVs by 2025. The Company will subsidize driver transition to EVs through a surcharge on Uber Green Trips and fees collected from programs including Clean Air Plans.
Uber recently signed a deal with Nissan where London Uber drivers could purchase or rent one of two thousand Nissan Leaf vehicles at an undisclosed discount. Drivers could use money accumulated from the clean air fee to help pay for the vehicles.
Uber’s commitment follows competitor Lyft who committed to a 100% EV fleet from 2030.
Driver ownership of the vehicles in fleet means that both Uber and Lyft have to incentivise their employees to switch to electric vehicles rather than making a decisions themselves. This may also explain why both companies have given themselves 10 or 20yrs deadlines to move to net-zero emissions.
GM reveals wireless battery management technology
GM has announced that its Ultium batteries will have a wireless battery management system. The system is developed by Analog Devices.
The Company suggests the scalability and complexity reduction the Ultium battery will offer is enabled by the wireless battery management system. The wBMS technology is claimed to reduce the wires in the battery by 90%.
The wireless architecture enables standardisation that GM hope will allow them to roll out new models quicker. The new architecture brings new efficiencies that will help cut the cost of electric vehicles.
The Ultium battery has pouched cells that can be stacked both vertically and horizontally allowing for optimization of battery energy storage and the layout.
The battery has a capacity of 50-200kWh with a range of up to 400 miles. Ultium powered EVs are designed for Level 2 and DC fast charging with a 400V battery pack.
Anglo American () 1869.6p, Mkt Cap £25.4bn – De Beers reports early signs of recovering diamond sales demand
Anglo American has announced that the sixth De Beers sales cycle of 2020 realised US$116m (2019 – US$250m) and that provisional sales for the seventh sales cycle are estimated at US$320m (2019 – US$287m).
In March, the company announced that the third sales cycle of the year had been suspended in response to the global pandemic and we believe that today’s announcement is the latest update on the regular diamond sales cycle since that time.
The company explains that “Owing to the restrictions on the movement of people and products in various jurisdictions around the globe, De Beers Group has continued to implement a more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the sixth and seventh sales cycles of 2020, with the normal week-long Sight events extended towards near-continuous sales. As a result, the provisional rough diamond sales figure quoted for cycle 7 represents the expected sales value for the period 19 August to 10 September, and remains subject to adjustment based on final completed sales”.
In a comment on the evolving state of the diamond market, De Beers CEO, Bruce Cleaver, noted that there had been some improvement during August and September “as Covid19 restrictions continued to ease in various locations, and manufacturers focused on meeting retail demand for polished diamonds, particularly in certain product areas.”
Mr. Cleaver also reported that “Overall industry sentiment has become more positive as jewellers in the key US and Chinese consumer markets gained confidence ahead of the important year-end holiday season, supported by strong bridal diamond jewellery demand across markets. Accordingly, we saw a recovery in rough diamond demand in the seventh sales cycle of the year, reflecting these retail trends, following several months of minimal manufacturing activity and disrupted demand patterns in all major markets. It’s clear that the recovery is at an early stage and we expect that it will take some time to get back to pre-Covid-19 levels of demand.”
Arkle Resources* () 0.95p, mkt cap £2.9m – Next phase of drilling at Stonepark
Yesterday Arkle Resources reported that drilling is underway at its 23.44% owned Stonepark project in Co Limerick under the management of Arkle’s partner, Canadian-listed Group Eleven Resources.
The two-hole programme is planned to drill a total of 810m, one hole of 360m and one of 450m depth, in order to test possible extensions to the existing inferred resource of 5.1mt at an average grade of 8.7% zinc and 2.6% lead.
Stonepark is located around 1km west of the larger but lower grade Pallas Green deposit owned by Glencore where there is a published inferred resource estimate of 45.4mt at an average grade of 7% zinc and 1% lead.
Chairman, John Teeling, welcomed the resumption of drilling at Stonepark and explained that Arkle Resources is “very well positioned in the emerging zinc province in the Limerick basin. These targeted holes are expected to grow the existing 5 million plus tonne resource”.
Conclusion: Further drilling at Stonepark may extend the known resources and help clarify the geology of the mineralisation in the context of the wider Limerick Basin. We await the results of the drilling with interest.
*SP Angel are Nomad and broker to Arkle Resources
Chaarat Gold* () 38p, Mkt Cap £199 – Kapan on course for 55koz AuEq FY20 production target and stronger earnings in H2/20
Revenue totalled $29.9m (5m/19: $31.0m) from sales of 20.9koz AuEq (5m/19: 28.3koz) in copper and zinc concentrates from Kapan polymetallic mine in Armenia.
Kapan contributed $4.1 to EBITDA (5m/19: $3.2m).
Group wide EBITDA came in at -$2.2m (H1/19: -$3.3m) after accounting for $6.3 in corporate Kyrgyz assets’ related expenses (5m/19: -$6.5m).
PBT came in at -$13.2m (H1/19: -$12.4m).
PAT was -$13.5m (H1/20: -$12.3m).
Net CFO climbed to $5.9m (H1/19: $2.8m) reflecting a positive contribution from Kapan as well as a release of cash from working capital.
FCF (ex interest) totalled $0.1m (H1/19: -$1.4m, excluding $40m Kapan acquisition cost) after accounting for $5.8m (H1/19: $4.2m) in capital expenditures at Kapan as well as capitalised exploration and development costs at Tulkubash.
Cash balance stood at $5.9m (Dec/19: $3.6m) with total borrowing (including leases) at $72.2m (Dec/19: $79.8m).
Borrowings came down following a $13.8m equity raise in Apr/20 covering Kapan acquisition related debt repayments as well as settlement of $6.3m of the working capital facility with shares; this was partly offset by an increase in lease liabilities of $1.2, and capitalisation of interest of $5.6m for the H1/20.
The Company is planning to extend or refinance the $21.2m (including accrued interest to the maturity date of 8 January 2021) investor loan before its maturity while also expecting to raise further funding before the end of 2020 to meet operational commitments and overheads at Tulkubash and at corporate level.; the Company had $2.3m in cash as of 31 August and a further $6.5 available in undrawn funds in a revolving term loan facility with Labro.
Operationally, Kapan mine is on track for 55koz AuEq in FY20 after producing 27.0koz AuEq in H1/20 with output expected to benefit from mining of higher grade zones in H2/20.
3rd party ore processing contributed $0.4m to EBITDA in July after the signed two new contracts in June with total EBITDA contribution estimated to come in at $1.0m in 2020.
Shipment of concentrates produced in June together with higher precious and base metals prices saw Kapan EBITDA climbing to $4.2 in July alone pointing to strong H2/20.
Exploration work started at the East Flank that is adjacent to the operating Kapan mine with a potential to source ore from the area starting in H2/22; the area was subject to extensive historical drilling (62 holes for 22,000) with a management exploration target estimated at 5-6mt at 2.2-2.6g/t AuEq.
At Tulkubash, the Company continued with early construction works in H1/20 with project development now close to 10% completed; labour and equipment mobilisation for the summer construction season were affected by authorities’ decision to declare a Covid-19 related state of emergency leading the team to adjust targeted first gold from late 2021 to Q4/22 with no affect on capital expenditure ($110m); the team continues discussions with lenders and expects to secure project funding by the end of 2020.
The Company reported zero Covid-19 cases in H1/20 while a small number of infections recorded in July have all been well managed with both personnel recovering fully.
Conclusion: The Company reiterated FY20 guidance for 55koz AuEq at Kapan eyeing stronger FCF in H2/20 helped by higher grade feed to the mill and stronger base as well as precious metals prices. Counting in the June concentrate that was shipped in July with revenues and cash flows slipping into H2/20, the Company reports Kapan EBITDA at $4.2 in July alone. Tulkubash funding discussions with potential lenders are continuing with a target to finalise financing by the end of the year allowing to accelerate project development works in Kyrgyzstan and deliver on strong growth profile of the Company.
*SP Angel acts as Broker to Chaarat Gold
Rio Tinto ( ) – 4839p, Mkt cap £60bn – The untold story behind the resignation of CEO, Jean-Sebastian Jacques
Rio Tinto has ousted its CEO Jean-Sebastian Jacques by mutual agreement, though J-S will remain in his role till a successor is appointed.
Chris Salisbury, CEO of Iron Ore and Simone Niven, Group Executive of Iron Ore will also leave with immediate effect.
Simon McKeon, non-executive director, is appointed Senior Independent Director, Rio Tinto Limited with immediate effect to complement the existing Senior Independent Director role, which will continue to be performed by Sam Laidlaw for .
J-S has effectively been forced out in our view by shareholders for his responsibility over the destruction of the ancient Juukan rockshelters in Western Australia. These shelters were an important heritage site and of cultural significance to the indigenous aboriginal people, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people and other Traditional Owners.
The mining industry was shocked at the destruction of the Juukan rockshelters and shareholders have taken action to remove the executives responsible.
This was a huge flag for institutional investors which are increasingly applying stringent ESG ‘Environmental Social Governance’ criteria to their fund criteria.
But, there may be much more to this than just the Juukan rockshelters?
The Australian Financial Review (afr.com) reported:
A long-time executive coach to Rio Tinto’s most senior executives reported “serious misgivings about unethical behaviour” to the company’s board of directors in November 2019, even claiming the elimination of leadership rivals had been “orchestrated”.
In December 2017, another striking thing happened: British executive coaching firm GFI Blackswan abruptly quit its 12-year role providing leadership development services to Rio Tinto’s senior leadership team “because of serious misgivings about unethical behaviour”.
Blackswan’s principal, Dr Maurice Duffy, laid this out in an eye-popping letter to current chairman Simon Thompson and the entire Rio Tinto board, Jacques and his entire executive committee, Rio’s lawyers Baker McKenzie and major institutional shareholders in the company on November 26, 2019.
In it, Duffy complains that before terminating his consultancy agreement in 2017, he reported “multiple, unprofessional [and] unethical behaviours” by Rio’s most senior executives to the then chairman and members of the board, “who took no action”.
Bear in mind, these allegations were being made to the chairman by these executives’ long-standing professional confidant.
Most stunningly, Duffy had reported “the leaks of emails, and how they were orchestrated … in order to remove Alan Davies and Debra Valentine”. These are those innocuous emails, leaked in August 2016 to an obscure French internet forum, fnPaste. From there, miraculously, they caught the board’s attention.
Duffy had reported “the inappropriate relationships”. One such relationship remains an open secret in Rio Tinto circles.
Sadly Rios now has a confidential settlement with Duffy which suggests he cannot say anything unless interviewed by a regulator.
Conclusion: Will the removal of J-S be sufficient to keep institutional investors with strong ESG criteria in the stock?
We suspect Rio will continue to pay significant dividends principally earned off the iron ore business to maintain their attention.
Question is; how can ESG funds become more proactive to force out bad managers before they allow acts of reckless cultural vandalism to occur on their watch?
John Meyer – [email protected] – 0203 470 0490
Simon Beardsmore – [email protected] – 0203 470 0484
Sergey Raevskiy –Serg[email protected] – 0203 470 0474
Richard Parlons –[email protected] – 0203 470 0472
Abigail Wayne – [email protected] – 0203 470 0534
Rob Rees – [email protected] – 0203 470 0535
Prince Frederick House
35-39 Maddox Street London
*SP Angel are the No1 integrated nomad and broker by number of mining brokerage clients on AIM according to the AIM Advisers Ranking Guide (joint brokerships excluded)
+SP Angel employees may have previously held, or currently hold, shares in the companies mentioned in this note.
Sources of commodity prices
Gold, , Palladium, Silver
BGNL (Bloomberg Generic Composite rate, London)
Gold ETFs, Steel
Copper, Aluminium, Nickel, Zinc, Lead, Tin, Cobalt
Natural Gas, Uranium, Iron Ore
Bloomberg OTC Composite
Lithium Carbonate, Ferro Vanadium, Antimony
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