The mineral commodity markets found something to celebrate with US president elect, Donald Trump's campaign promise to re - build America with a $US 500 billion job creating infrastructure splurge. Metal prices have zoomed higher since Trumps election victory, and the bulk commodities of iron ore and coal have soared from their already elevated levels which can be traced back to numerous China factors. But will Trump the builder really make much of a difference in the long run. Not really, seems to be the answer based on the simple fact that America is pretty much already built. It's mineral commodities consumption is comparatively small, even if it is, the World's biggest economy.
UBS Finance estimates that US demand for metals to average 8 percent of global demand across the key metals and it assumes 1 - 2 percent annual growth in demand through to 2020.
It is demand in China that matters. China is not built out, unlike much of the Western world. The political imperative for the Communist leadership is to continue to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty will be the feature of commodities markets for decades to come.
This is why China accounts for 48 percent of global steel production and why on the demand front, it consumes 52 percent of the aluminium, 53 percent of copper, 48 percent of the zinc and 53 percent of nickel.
So big moves in Trump the builder behest would only equate to small moves in Chinese demand. But that's not to say the party in commodities is going to fizzle out. It's just that what happens in China is what will count more. As UBS points out, it is the potential impact on the marginal pricing which could be more meaningful. For example a 10 percent lift in US demand for copper would deliver 180, 000 tonnes of additional metal demand. While that is the equivalent to a 1.5 percent move in China.
This will bring incentive pricing - The price required for miners to begin investment in new production - Back into the minds of investors, and the share market.
Published by Julian Groom