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Coronavirus crushes base metals demand, hefty surpluses weigh

Kitco - Demand destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will dwarf the impact of supply disruptions for industrial metals such as aluminium and zinc, leaving heavy surpluses and inventory levels that will pressure prices and output this year.

Bleak demand prospects have driven down base metal prices, cutting into revenues for producers, triggering capital expenditure cuts and the prospect of output reductions.

Miner and trader Glencore said last month its spending would fall by $1 billion-$1.5 billion this year from an original estimate of $5.5 billion, while Anglo American plans to cut expenditure by about $1 billion to $4-$4.5 billion.

Lower metals prices can benefit manufacturers as input costs fall, but typically only if they buy on the spot market as many deals are struck on a long-term basis.

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