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Platinum under pressure as workers prepare to strike - EMEA Brief 10 Apr

Guest IG-Andi


  • South Africa’s Platinum Group Metal (PGM) is bracing for industry-wide tough salary negotiations as it urges the government to invest in platinum markets. Chris Griffith, Chief of Anglo American Platinum Ltd, the world No.1 miner, reassured investors that workers are likely to avoid prolonged strikes. Meanwhile, the rand basket price for platinum and its sister metals rose 20% to 25 % this year already. Slowing global growth could pressure the metal, which hit $891 at 6:00am GMT+1 on the IG Web Trading Platform
  • Gold prices edged lower after being up the most in more than one week on Tuesday. The yellow-metal seems to have reinvigorated after the IMF downgraded global economic growth from 3.5% down to 3.3%. Spot contracts hit $1302.57 at 6:00am GMT+1 on the IG Web Trading Platform. 
  • Oil steadied overnight after rising to five-months highs on Tuesday. West Texas Intermediate May futures were trading at $64.21, having advanced 0.27%, as of 7am GMT+1. The recent rally of crude was strengthened by supply concerns in Libya after the attack on Tripoli by the Libyan National Army.
  • The US dollar floated overnight as markets weight US-China trade negotiations and the Brexit uncertainty. The Australian dollar was up overnight supported by rising prices in commodities such as Iron ore, liquified gas and aluminum, which compose a major part of the country’s exports. 
  • The Bitcoin squeeze seems to have arrested since Monday, after the Chinese Government released a plan to ban mining. Even though cryptocurrency trading and ICOs are illegal in China, it has remained the epicenter of global crypto mining with more energy spent to mint Bitcoins than any other country. It is not yet clear which is the time horizon needed to enact the restrictive proposal and how it will impact crypto prices in the short term.

Asian overnight: Equities in Asia dropped on concerns over global growth and an escalation in trade talks. The worst performer was Japan’s Topix Index which dropped 0.8% while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.4%. US 10-year Treasury yields floated back below 2.5%.

UK, US and Europe: Threats from the US over a potential $11 billion of tariffs have been responded to in kind after the European Commission noted that they would retaliate in accordance with WTO guidance. Looking ahead, it is a big day for the pound, with UK monthly GDP, manufacturing production, NIESR GDP, and the all-important EU27 meeting over whether to grant an extension to article 50. Central banks are also in focus, with the ECB expected to keep their monetary policy steady and FOMC minutes also released later in the day. 

South Africa: The rand trades at multi-week highs. Tencent Holdings is up 1.2% in Asia, suggestive of a positive start for major holding company Naspers. The BHP Group is down 0.35%, suggestive of a flat to slightly lower start for diversified miners.

Economic calendar - key events and forecast (times in GMT)


Econ Cal 10 APr.PNG

Source: Daily FX Economic Calendar

9.30am – UK trade balance, GDP (February): trade deficit to narrow to £1.2 billion, while GDP falls 0.3% MoM from 0.5% growth, and the YoY figure drops to 1.2% from 1.4%. The rolling three-month figure is expected to fall to 0.1% from 0.2%. Markets to watch: GBP crosses

12.45pm – ECB rate decision (1.30pm press conference): no change is expected but the bank may push towards more easing after the announcement of TLTROs at its last meeting. Markets to watch: eurozone indices, EUR crosses

1.30pm – US CPI (March): headline CPI to rise to 1.8% from 1.5% YoY and 0.3% from 0.2% MoM, while core CPI to be 0.2% from 0.1% MoM and hold at 2.1% YoY. Markets to watch: US indices, USD crosses

3.30pm – US EIA crude inventories (w/e t April): stockpiles rose by 7.2 million barrels last week. Markets to watch: Brent, WTI

7pm – FOMC minutes: these minutes will help reveal the thinking behind the cautious tone to the latest meeting of the Federal Reserve. Markets to watch: US indices, USD crosses

Corporate News, Upgrades and Downgrades

  • Tesco reported a 34% rise in operating profit for the full-year, to £2.2 billion, while revenue rose 11.2% to £63.9 billion. 
  • McCarthy & Stone said that first-half pre-tax profit fell 66% to £3.6 million, despite an 18% rise in revenue to £280.5 million. Restructuring costs caused a drop of £14 million, and the dividend was left unchanged at 1.9p per share. 
  • Rolls-Royce said it would start to inspect its Trent 1000 TEN engines after blade deterioration was identified in some of the products. 
  • Dunelm expects to beat forecasts for the full-year after like-for-like sales rose 12.5% in the third quarter. Sales were bolstered by a 32% surge in online like-for-like sales. 

Aena Upgraded to Buy at Kepler Cheuvreux
FLSmidth upgraded to overweight at Morgan Stanle

DNA downgraded to hold at SEB Equities
Valeo downgraded to sell at Citi
Glencore downgraded to sector perform at RBC
Novartis cut to underweight at Morgan Stanle

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