Expectations of production cuts in South Africa prompt US$15.5mn of inflows into Platinum ETPs. Anglo Platinum (“Amplats”), the biggest platinum producer, recently announced its intention to cut up to 300,000 ounces of the metal off the market. With operating costs now standing US$400 above current market prices, more producers might follow Amplats’ example. While the situation in South Africa seems to have improved considerably as of late, the strike season in the country, which normally starts in June, is fast approaching. Last year, the impact of the illegal strikes on production and the platinum price was substantial. South African disruptions remain a potential short-term catalyst for PGMs price upside, mostly for platinum.
Industrial metals record US$8.6mn of inflows on higher than expected manufacturing numbers in the US. At the same time, both copper and nickel ETPs saw strong outflows, totalling US$5.5mn and US$16.9mn, as investors favored diversified cyclical exposure. Concerns over China’s slowdown, which accounts for 44% of global nickel consumption, pushed nickel prices to the lowest level since July 2009 last week. At current levels, potential production cut backs should help stabilize nickel prices.
Long WTI crude ETPs record US$11.2mn of outflows as US crude oil stocks climb to an 82-year high. With US production levels close to a 21-year high, excess supply remains an issue for WTI. Rising imports combined with relatively restrained refinery capacity boosted stockpiles to the highest level since 1931. At the same time Brent ETPs received inflows of US$3.9m as current prices attracted bargain hunters.
Key events to watch this week: Investor attention will be focused on the Bank of England rate decision. However, with UK inflation steadily above the target, a decrease in interest rates is likely to be off the table. Eurozone manufacturing data will also watched closely as any sign of economic weakening might prompt further monetary stimulus from the ECB. The G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting will conclude the week and the global financial crisis and sovereign debt resolution measures will be once again at the center of discussions.