Friday, November 20, 2009

Supply concerns pushing Zinc's outperformance (Abe Vigoda Is alive!)

From Reuters via MineWeb:

Prices of the metal jumped over 2%, outpacing gains by other metals as speculative buyers jumped into the market

Shanghai zinc futures hit their highest level in 18 months on Friday and LME prices jumped more than 2%, outpacing gains in other base metals, on speculative buying fuelled by supply concerns.

Australia's Century zinc mine, which produces a third of the country's zinc output, was due to run out of concentrate at its shipping port earlier this week, prompting buyers to look for alternative sources.

A potential squeeze in zinc concentrate supply and higher power costs in China may force some smelters to cut production, a trader in Singapore said.

China will raise power prices for non-residential users by around 5.4% from Friday, its first increase since July 2008, to compensate grid firms that lost out from a state cap on prices....MORE

The Abe Vigoda reference is to a website,, devoted to reporting Mr. Vigoda's mortal status (and nothing else).

That came up because I was recalling a story first told in "Buy Tin", referenced in "Climateer's Humiliation "Buy Tin". And: Chinese Stocks Drop the Most in Five Weeks; Dongfang Declines" and again in "The mystery investor who is turning the tin market on its head":

I bring this up because of one of our previous tin posts, "Buy Tin":

That was the cryptic message from a reformed metals trader this afternoon. No rationale, no investment thesis, just "buy tin".

I couldn't help thinking of the Barney Miller episode "Child Stealers".
Time traveler "Adam Boyer" comes back from 2057 and is hounded by Harris for stock tips:
[Harris, acting on a tip from a "twinkie" claiming to be a Sociology Professor from Columbia University who's traveled back in time from the year 2057 (played by the great character actor Richard Libertini), calls his broker to transfer his assets from gold bullion to the financial standard of the future--Zinc!!]:

", no blue chips, either...I was thinking about Zinc!

(pause) Yeah, Zinc! What's it goin for these days? (writing the figure on a notepad)...Thirty seven and a half cents---a POUND??
(The "Professor" gives Harris an encouraging nod)

...Yeah, well,
I might be willin' to spring for a coupla TONS!
Since the episode aired in January 1980 and zinc today is $1.075, zinc didn't do so hot (but much better than gold, which hit $850 that same month). Here's Kitco's zinc chart....
I might be willin' to spring for a coupla tons.