SP Angel . Morning View . Friday 19 06 20
New demand for steel in China drives iron ore higher
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KEFI Minerals * (LON:KEFI) – Tulu Kapi project finance on track for Oct/20 closure and full construction start in Q1/21
Ncondezi Energy (AIM:NCCL) – Project update
Norilsk Nickel (LON:MNOD) – Strategic withdrawal from Australia to focus on Russia
Petropavlovsk (LON:POG) – Secondary listing in Moscow
Versarien (AIM:VRS) – New non-executive Chairman appointed
Iron ore and steel prices rise in Chin driven by new local and national infrastructure projects
China is restoring and ramping up growth in its economy through the funding of new local and national infrastructure projects.
New demand for rebar, hot-rolled coil and stainless steel is driving domestic Chinese prices higher
We expect many related base metals and other commodity price to follow.
Coronavirus – medical experts claim to have brought the Beijing Coronavirus outbreak under control
Johnson & Johnson in talks with governments on possible COVID-19 vaccine
New Coronavirus outbreaks in Beijing, Germany and the US are a concern though no unexpected
The UK The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, announced a ‘rapid evidence review’ looking into the connection between Vitamin D and COVID-19 mortality rates.
Very low infection rates in Zambia potentially indicate that the nation’s extensive BCG vaccination program may be serving to protect the population. This is backed up by data from local mining companies which have been rigorously testing their employees and management.
Staff at third UK meat factory tests positive for Coronavirus
The factory serves KFC, M&A, ASDA and others (Daily Mail)
Government to allow holidays in Wales from July 6th for self contained accommodation – you never knew a caravan in Pontypridd could be so attractive
Airbridges may be announced today to European destinations from 4th July, probably to France, Spain, Portugal and Greece.
Ireland, new Pub rules restrict drinkers to two hours including food – There is going to be some very fast drinking going on!
Stimulus funding (government announcements)
$304bn – China Ministry of Finance has issued Rmb550bn (US$77bn) of special purpose debt
+ another Rmb1,600bn (US$226bn) is available for issue before the year end. Much of this will be for housing and connecting infrastructure
$140bn – China PBOC buying CNY1tn of bank loans issued by local lenders to small firms this week in an effort to ease the flow of credit.
$56bn – The PBOC also announced a Rmb400bn ($56bn) purchase loan program to boost available credit by supporting bank loans to small businesses.
$1.55tn – China – Bloomberg estimates a ‘fiscal impulse of more than 11% of nominal GDP’ which was estimated at US$14.14tn
We have previously assumed China at $909m comprised $344bn of China stimulus + $565bn in special bonds for infrastructure by local authorities
$2tn – US fiscal package approved by Congress. US may add $0.6t state aid for mortgage markets and travel industries
The House passed a $484bn aid package to rescue small small businesses, hospitals ($75bn) and coronavirus testing ($25bn).
$2tn US – Trump looking at $2tn infrastructure fund
$700bn – US + Fed rate cut to 0-0.25% last night. The $700bn QE to buy Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.
US Fed may soon start buying in up to $750 billion of corporate debt and ETFs
US Fed has flooded all markets with dollar liquidity through repo and swap lines.
US$1.02tn – Japan – BoJ injecting US$1.02tn into the economy through a variety of programmes. (will check if this is in addition to the Y117tn stimulus announced)
US$1.1tn – 117tn-yen stimulus, funded partly by a second extra budget, will be on top of another 117tn package already rolled out takes total spending in Japan at 234tn yen ($2.18tr) – 40% of Japans GDP. Japan to issue Y31.9tn in government bonds.
$825bn (€750bn) EU – European Commission aid package yesterday aimed at supporting EU nations hit by the pandemic.
This is an expansion on the previous $543bn (€500bn ) EU Crisis Recovery fund backed France and Germany + $963bn (€750bn) ECB scraps limits on sovereign bond purchases. ECB PEPP buying running at around €250bn
EU Finance Ministers have so far failed to agree on a strategy to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.
The pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) and asset purchase programme (APP) have been reiterated with a cap of €750bn and €120bn, respectively.
The bank is reported to have used €100bn of the PEPP so far.
$825bn (€756bn) Germany – Bundestag approved €156bn in extra borrowing and ~€600bn in emergency funds
$298bn Japan parliament passed ¥31.9tn ($298bn) second extra budget today to help struggling economy.
¥117tn stimulus programme + ¥10tn as a coronavirus reserve fund
$934bn (£745bn) – UK Bank of England injects another £100bn ($125bn)
$387bn (€304bn) France, $200bn (€200bn) Spain, $214bn (A$320bn) Australia – RBA ready to buy bonds again.
US$260bn – India representing 10% of GDP.
$62bn – South Korea – The government unveiled a 76tn won ($62bn) “New Deal” aimed at supporting the economy amid the pandemic focused on creating jobs and new industries through 2025. South Korea – New Deal will create jobs and foster new industries like 5G.
$13.3bn – Saudi Arabia central bank will inject 50bn riyals ($13.3bn) into the banking system on top of US$43.7bn already pledged
$78bn (C$107bn) Canada, $32bn, Singapore, $22.6bn India, $19.3bn HK, $13.7bn South Korea, $10bn Switzerland, $8.4bn Italy, $7bn NZ, $3.5bn Ireland, $2bn Taiwan, Philippines further $26bn proposed, Indonesia – adding $43bn, Thailand creating a corporate bond fund.
South African buys ZAR10.2bn (US$119m) government bonds in May. Argentina to default on $10bn of dollar debt issued till the end of the year.
$1,000bn – IMF available + $12bn World Bank,
>15.9tn – Total stimulus reported. Figures may include some political double counting and some funds may not be spent
Gold sector interview with interactive investor
IG TV interview on Mining Sector prospects with SP Angel analyst.
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Dow Jones Industrials
HK Hang Seng
China plans to step up purchases of US farm goods
Foreign direct investment fell 3.8%ytd in May and -6.1% yoy
China is planning to step up purchases of US farm goods to comply with the Phase-1 trade deal following the talks in Hawaii this week, Bloomberg reports.
The world’s top soybean importer intends to step up buying of everything including soybeans, corn and ethanol after purchases fell behind due to coronavirus disruptions.
EU – Euro Zone Current Account Balance EUR 14.4bn for April vs 27.4bn previously
new car registrations fell 52.3%yoy in May vs -76.3% in April
Sweden – Unemployment rose to 9% in May vs 8.2% in April
European banks take up €1.5tn of low-interest ECB loans.
EU plans to impose full customs controls and checks on goods from the UK starting next year
UK – Bank of England injects another £100bn ($125bn) to protect fragile economic recovery
BoE leaves rates unchanged
CPI rose to 0.5% in May vs 0.8% in April
CPI is 0% yoy in May vs -0.2% in April
PPI inputs rose 0.3% (-5.5%), yoy -10% (-10.2%),
PPI outputs declined 0.3% (-0.8%), yoy -1.5% (-0.7%).
US – Fed’s Bullard – Economic Recovery Seen Faster 2008-09 Crisis Recovery, But Depends On The Virus
Fed’s Mester reckons it could take a year or two for the US economy to return to pre-pandemic levels, with the gross domestic product declining by 6% in 2020 and the unemployment rate still around 9% by year’s end (Reuters)
US Treasury yields fall further on prospects for slower recovery from the Coronavirus
US housing starts rose 4.3% in May at 0.97m units vs -26.4% at 0.934m units in April
Building permits rose 14.4% to 1.22m units in May vs -21.4% at 1.066m units in April
Jobless claims rose to 1.542m in May vs 1.508m in April
Philadelphia Feb index recovered +27.5 for June vs -43.1 in May highlighting the strength of the US recovery so far
US rmployers hired a record 2.5m workers in May as businesses reopened
US unemployment remains at some 29m
Australia – Unemployment rose to 7.1% in May vs 6.4% in April
Employment fell 227.7k vs -607k in April
Participation rate of 62.9% in May vs 63.5% in April
Lower oil prices are helping the global recovery as rising inventories hold oil prices down
400 workers tested positive for the coronavirus at an abattoir in Germany (Reuters)
Robinhood App and website attracted 20,000-50,000 new users per day according (Bloomberg)
The App was created by the founder in his spare time at university in Indiana, US at the age of 21.
The system uses stock ownership data for insights into retain investor holdings and trading.
Thailand – Domestic car sales fall 54.12% YoY
Car sales in Thailand fell for the twelfth straight month in May, down 54.12% from a year earlier to 40,418 vehicles.
UK – Government debt exceeds 100% of GDP for first time since 1963
Borrowing stood at £55.2bn last month as spending surged and tax revenue plunged, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday.
This latest figure brings the total borrowed since the start of April to £103.7bn, the biggest two-month total on record (Bloomberg).
The increase reflects the cost of the Chancellor’s interventions to help prop up the economy, including paying wages for almost 12m jobs and more stimulus including tax breaks.
The money owed to the holders of gilts, national savings and creditors of Network Rail- exceeded £2tr for the first time ever in May (FT).
The figures show the level of public borrowing to be on course to end the financial year about £300bn in the red, twice as bad as the worst year in the GFC and about 15% of national income.
Dollar heading for best weekly gain in a month
A resurgence in coronavirus cases, mainly in China and Germany, has knocked confidence in a rapid economic recovery and drove investors to the safety of USD (FX Street).
The dollar index is trading near a two-week high and has gained about 0.3% for the week (Reuters).
Baltic index sees best day ever as vessel rates surge
The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index saw its largest single-day percentage rise on Thursday.
The Baltic dry index, which tracks rates for ships carrying bulk commodities, rose 22.6% to 1,527- its highest since the 10th of December.
The Baltic Capesize index jumped 49.6% to 3,672- its highest since the 25th of September (Reuters).
India – China cut roads into Himalayan mountain and may have dammed river (Reuters)
Hindu festival cancelled for first time in 284 years
US$1.1215/eur vs 1.1242/eur yesterday. Yen 106.90/$ vs 107.20/$. SAr 17.403/$ vs 17.225/$. $1.243/gbp vs $1.252/gbp. 0.686/aud vs 0.687/aud. CNY 7.076/$ vs 7.078/$.
Gold US$1,739/oz vs US$1,735/oz yesterday – Gold rangebound this week on virus concerns and dollar strength
Gold prices edged higher on Friday morning, as demand was supported by concerns over a second wave of Covid-19 infections.
Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,726/oz this whilst US gold futures also rose 0.2% to $1,735/oz earlier this morning (Reuters).
The price of gold has fallen 0.3% so far this week, as concerns over a Covid-19 second wave have been countered by dollar strength and economic recovery hopes.
Gold ETFs 100.9moz vs US$100.9moz yesterday
Platinum US$821/oz vs US$823/oz yesterday
Palladium US$1,922/oz vs US$1,945/oz yesterday
Silver US$17.59/oz vs US$17.62/oz yesterday
Copper US$ 5,799/t vs US$5,770/t yesterday – China refined copper output rose 13.3%mom (853kt) to 3.97mt up 2.7% YTD (China Bureau of Statistics)
Refined zinc output rose +4.5% to 514kt or up 9.1% to 2.53mt YTD
Refined lead rose +17.1% to 506kt or +1% 2.21mt YTD.
Aluminium US$ 1,586/t vs US$1,607/t yesterday – India may impose anti-dumping duties on aluminium products from China (NewsRise)
Nickel US$ 12,760/t vs US$12,900/t yesterday
Global nickel use in passenger vehicles was just under 3,000-tonnes in April vs with av global nickel usage of 178,000 tonnes per month in Q1 (FastmarketsMB)
Zinc US$ 2,037/t vs US$2,019/t yesterday
Lead US$ 1,796/t vs US$1,778/t yesterday
Tin US$ 17,180/t vs US$16,990/t yesterday – PT Timah expect sales to fall 18.8% to 55,000t vs 67,700t in 2019
Oil US$42.2bbl vs US$40.8/bbl yesterday
Natural Gas US$1.650/mmbtu vs US$1.640/mmbtu yesterday
Uranium US$33.15/lb vs US$33.15/lb yesterday
Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$103.05/t vs US$102.75/t – Iron ore prices continue to rise in China as demand for steel rises
Iron ore carrier scuttled at sea with 125,000t of iron ore still onboard
The Stellar Banner ran aground off the coast of São Luís, Brazil with 270,000t of iron ore on board
The salvage crew managed to recover 145,000t of iron ore before towing the ship into deeper water for sinking
The sinking of the ship may provide scientists with some interesting data on the impact of iron ore in the deep water environment
We believe iron is good for algal growth in surface waters which is also good for carbon capture and for feeding plankton and other organisms.
Iranian Mar-May iron ore production falls 2% YoY
Iran produced 7.96mt of iron ore in the first two months of the Iranian calendar (March 20- May 20)- 2% lower than the same period last year.
Similarly, the monthly iron ore concentrate output during the second month of this year has fallen 2% to 4.16mt.
Iran produced 47.31mt of iron ore in the previous Iranian calendar year (ending March 19), a 4% rise compared to the year before (Hellenic Shipping News).
Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$525.7/t vs US$525.7/t – Steel prices rise in China
Rebar, hot-rolled coil and stainless steel prices are all rising on new demand for regional and national construction projects in China.
Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$54.0/t vs US$54.0/t
Coking coal swap Australia FOB US$114.5/t vs US$114.5/t
Cobalt LME 3m US$28,850/t vs US$29,000/t
NdPr Rare Earth Oxide (China) US$40,423/t vs US$40,423/t – Chinese terbium and dysprosium prices rise week-on-week
State-owned China Southern Rare Earth Group has raised the weekly listed prices for several rare earth oxides, including dysprosium oxide and terbium oxide (SMM News).
The price of terbium oxide rose 150,000 yuan/t to 4.45m yuan/t whilst dysprosium oxide was priced at 1.95m yuan/t- up 30,000 yuan/t from a week ago.
Lithium carbonate 99% (China) US$4,868/t vs US$4,868/t
Ferro Vanadium 80% FOB (China) US$29.5/kg vs US$29.5/kg
Antimony Trioxide 99.5% EU (China) US$5.0/kg vs US$5.0/kg
Tungsten APT European US$215-225/mtu vs US$215-225/mtu
Graphite flake 94% C, -100 mesh, fob China US$460/t vs US$460/t
Graphite spherical 99.95% C, 15 microns, fob China US$2,350/t vs US$2,350/t
High toughness ceramics could be achieved using graphene
Brown University researchers have used graphene to improve the toughness and safety of solid electrolyte. (Phys org)
Solid electrolytes often fracture and corrode other parts of the battery. Ceramics might be a solution, but they are brittle. (New Atlas)
The researchers made tiny platelets of graphene oxide, mixed with a powder of LATP (a ceramic) and heated the mixture to form a ceramic-graphene composite.
Mechanical testing showed a two-fold increase in toughness (ability to withstand cracking) whilst the right amount graphene did not interfere with the electrical properties of the material.
The results show nanocomposites could make solid electrolytes safer and usable in everyday applications.
The study was published in the journal Matter.
Umicore plant to manufacture cathode materials
Umicore will begin construction of a cathode materials plant in Nysa, Poland, with deliveries due to start from late 2020.
The plant will use proprietary production technologies to manufacture cathode materials for the European automotive market.
The plant is part of a €660m program announced by Umicore earlier this year.
The first phase of the facility has been part financed by the European Investment Bank who agreed a €125m loan agreement with Umicore earlier this week.
The Company penned a multi-year supply agreement for NMC cathode materials to serve LG Chem in September 2019. The supply agreement took effect form 2020 and outlines 125,000 metric tonnes to be delivered over several years.
Once completed the site at Nysa will supply Umicore’s battery cell and automotive customers.
Ford to install hands-free option in its new electric Mustang Mach-E vehicle (Bloomberg)
We have to wonder if anyone buying a Mustang will ever want to take their hands off the wheel.
KEFI Minerals * (LON:KEFI) 0.98p, Mkt Cap £18m – Tulu Kapi project finance on track for Oct/20 closure and full construction start in Q1/21
The Company provided a general update on Tulu Kapi development project as well as financing discussions.
The team highlighted Tulu Kapi remained on track for project finance closure in October 2020, full construction in Q1/21 and the start of gold production in 2022.
No cases of coronavirus have been reported in the Tulu Kapi district to date.
With regards to the situation in the country, the Ethiopian Parliament extended the deadline for the next elections by up to 12 months to August 2021 last week amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Development wise, the team is reporting that the road to new host lands for Tulu Kapi residents is currently being built ahead of the resettlement start.
Security has been significantly expanded in the Mine License Area and in the surrounding district.
Following geotechnical drilling completed in Q1/20 and updated processing plant fabricators’ prices received, principal contractors Lycopodium updated process plant Front-End-Engineering-and-Design.
The team has narrowed down capital cost estimates and opted for a straightforward bank debt as opposed to previously considered infrastructure bond that in turn yielded significant savings reducing funding needs to $221m, down from $242m.
Development capita cost of $221m includes processing infrastructure expenses ($110m), mining infrastructure ($27m), off-site infrastructure ($20m), owners’ costs ($45m) and interest during construction and other finance effects ($19m).
Adjusting for all updated input costs, the Company estimates Tulu Kapi (open pit + underground) to generate NPV8% (after tax) of $363m/£290m at $1,600/oz gold price ($163m/£131m for planned KEFI 45% interest in the project).
Open pit only scenario for ~140kozpa over eight years and AISC of $856-884/oz generates 45% IRR at the $1,600/oz gold price
Funding sources include $111m in project equity (including subordinated debt and offtake-linked facilities) and $110m in senior secured infrastructure finance.
Regarding the latter, the Company signed a term sheet with two African development finance institutions (Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank and Africa Finance Corporation).
Regarding the $111m project level equity, the Company is in discussions with ANS Mining regarding their participation in the project ($38m agreed previously) that is expected to be clarified this month.
The Company reports that partners to the project also discuss other sources of funding that involve local institutions and international mining-experienced investors and offtake specialists to close the funding and finalise the structure.
Conclusion: The Company updated project economics data highlighting attractive returns further supported by strong gold price environment ahead of agreeing the senior secured infrastructure loan and equity part of the funding with finance closure targeted for October 2020.
*SP Angel act as Nomad and Broker to KEFI Minerals
Ncondezi Energy (AIM:NCCL) 3.35p, mkt cap £14.7m – Project update
Ncondezi Energy has provided a progress report on its plans for the development of an integrated 300MW coal fired power plant in Mozambique.
In agreement with Mozambique’s EDM, the company is progressing further studies including a transmission integration study and national power market outlook study which are expected to be completed during Q3 2020.
The company expects these studies to facilitate finalisation of the tariff agreement during H2 2020.
Ncondezi Energy is also expecting to conclude a ʺShareholders Agreement Term Sheet … in the coming weeksʺ and to sign an EPC (Engineering Procurement and Construction) contract during Q3 2020.
CEO, Henno Pengilly, explained that the further studies ʺshould verify certain technical assumptions and provide greater certainty around the business case for the Project alongside the tariff proposalʺ although he pointed out that the additional studies ʺare expected to add at least 2 monthe to the Project development programme moving the tariff agreement into H2 2020.ʺ
Conclusion: Further studies currently underway are expected to improve the business case for the development of a 300MW integrated coal-fired power plant in Mozambique. Although they will extend the timetable by approximately 2 months, overriding delays arising from the Covid19 pandemic should, in part, be used to complete the studies.
Norilsk Nickel (LON:MNODI) US$27.35, Mkt Cap US$34,639m – Strategic withdrawal from Australia to focus on Russia
Norilsk Nickel has announced that, subject to regulatory approvals, it is disposing of its interest in the Honeymoon Well nickel project in Western Australia to its partner, BHP, for an undisclosed amount.
ʺThe Project located in Western Australia encompasses Honeymoon Well, a greenfield nickel development, as well as Albion Downs North and Jericho Joint Ventures, both exploration projects where BHP currently owns the remaining 50% stake.ʺ
Norilsk Nickel explains that the strategic disposal of its last remaining Australian asset will ʺreinforce our focus on the development of our Tier-1 asset portfolio in Russiaʺ.
Petropavlovsk (LON:POG) 28.4p, Mkt Cap £927m – Secondary listing in Moscow
Petropavlovsk reports that it has formally applied for its shares to be listed on the Moscow Exchange in addition to retaining its primary listing in London.
The company explains that it expects its profile, liquidity and trading volumes to be enhanced by making its shares available to a more diverse group of investors some of whom are ʺnot currently present and, in some cases, unable to purchase shares in Londonʺ.
ʺThe Company will not be placing or issuing any new shares in connection with its application for a secondary listing and no action is required by the Company’s existing shareholdersʺ.
Conclusion: Petropavlovsk is seeking to diversify its shareholder base via a secondary listing in Moscow.
Versarien (AIM:VRS) 48p, Mkt cap £81m – New non-executive Chairman appointed
James Steward CBE has been appointed as the new non-executive Chairman at Versarien.
Stewart is currently Managing Partner of Menlo Partners LLP, an investment and advisory company which focusses on technology companies active in the UK and China.
James was formerly a partner at ECI Partners LLP a long established private equity fund managers, where he was involved in a wide range of investments.
James also previously worked for Arthur Andersen’s management consultancy division and as investment director at Rothschild Ventures Limited.
Versarien continues to develop graphene for the testing and enhancement of a variety of applications ranging from batteries to wearable technology.
Graphene’s strength alongside its thermal and electrical conductivity means the material may well enhance many of the products where it is being incorporated.
*SP Angel act as nomad and broker to Versarien
John Meyer – [email protected] – 0203 470 0490
Simon Beardsmore – [email protected] – 0203 470 0484
Sergey Raevskiy –[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, Platinum, 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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