SP Angel Morning View - Investors rattled at scale of virus related disruption
SP Angel . Morning View . Wednesday 04 03 20
Investors rattled at scale of virus related disruption
MiFID II exempt information – see disclaimer below
Anglo American (AAL LN) – De Beers diamond sales hit by fallout of corona-virus
Aura Energy* (AURA LN) – Clarification of moves to restructure the board
Condor Gold* (CNR LN) – High grade pit scenario for La India
Edenville Energy (EDL LN) – Rukwa wash plant operations restart
Vast Resources* (VAST LN) – Chiadzwa Community Diamond Project update
Fed rate cut indicates scale of economic impact of the Coronavirus epidemic
Expect other nations to follow China and Italy in locking-down offices, factories and towns to slow the rate of new Coronavirus infection with significant local and international economic impact
- We expect the US, China, Germany and others to follow with new infrastructure stimulus to support the economy and keep businesses running
- The US Fed rate cut yesterday was a bold early move by the Fed to help protect US businesses and the US economy.
- The speed and scale of the cut indicate the expected scale of the hit to the US economy.
- We expect to see more news of slowing production lines as manufacturers and assembly lines struggle to replace parts from China.
- The extended New Year shutdown in China combined with massive supply chain disruption caused by transport restrictions means that US factories and shops will be running out of parts and supplies about now.
- A number of manufacturers in the UK are already struggling to keep production lines going due to a lack of some relatively minor parts which are only sourced from China.
- Even components which can be made in the UK still depend on certain critical items which come from China, particularly parts with minute quantities of rare earths and other metallurgically complex elements.
- Shops, restaurants, hotels, airlines, etc… are already suffering as consumers avoid unnecessary travel and public places.
- The UK government estimates that up to 20% of the workforce may be off work at any point in time due to the Coronavirus.
- The UK authorities are advising more remote, home working with suspected Coronavirus cases already closing offices.
Conclusion: We were not at all surprised to see the market fall after the Fed rate cut. The Fed does not cut rates at the request of the President and is purely concerned with supporting the US economy.
The rate cut will not work on its own and new stimulus or quantitative easing will be needed to avert recession if possible.
We expect the US to support a number of new incentives as part of their strategy to stimulate demand for US services and products as the economy slows.
Novacyt Group* - quick and accurate diagnostic test for the COVID-19 virus
- It’s not mining but Novacyt Group, an AIM-listed international diagnostics business, has a quick and accurate diagnostic test for the COVID-19 virus.
- The Company specialises in ‘in vitro’ and molecular diagnostic tests which it supplies to customers worldwide.
- The Group recently developed a quick and accurate diagnostic test for the COVID-19 virus, which is generating substantial commercial interest given current concerns over a possible pandemic.
- The test is stable for long distance shipping without the need for specialist cold-chain transport and can be run on multiple molecular testing platforms commonly used around the world.
*SP Angel act as nomad and broker to Novacyt Group. Please refer to our specialist Healthcare/ Pharamceutical analyst team for further info.
Chinese car sales drop record 80% in February
- Car sales in China saw the biggest monthly drop on record last month, as the coronavirus kept customers out of dealerships and showrooms.
- According to data released from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) on Wednesday, average daily sales picked up towards the end of the month.
- Two weeks ago, the CPCA announced a 92% collapse in sales in the first 16 days of February.
- Despite China’s central government stressing the importance of the auto industry, it has not yet implemented fresh support measures (Bloomberg).
- Local authorities have introduced incentives that rely heavily on manufacturer incentives to improve sales (Reuters).
- The city of Foshan is providing 3,000 yuan rebates to car buyers and Guangzhou’s municipal government will give 10,000 yuan to new-energy vehicle buyers.
Dow Jones Industrials
HK Hang Seng
The World Bank will provide up to $12bn in funding for countries affected by the coronavirus and improve their response to the disease.
US – The Fed cut the benchmark rate range by 50bp to 1.00-1.25% in an emergency meeting yesterday amid growing concerns that the coronavirus outbreak may push the economy into a recession.
- Markets closed in red with bond yields continuing to slide as investors remain worried this may not be enough.
- Money markets imply another 50bp cut by July, Reuters reports.
- 10y Treasury yields continued to slide this morning after shedding 16bp and currently trading at 0.94%, the lowest level on record.
- 2y rates lost 20bp yesterday and were down another 3bp this morning hovering around 0.67%.
- Joe Biden secured a remarkable comeback during the Super Tuesday primary night claiming victories in nine states including upsets in Texas and Massachusetts.
- Bernie Sanders won in four states as well as seizing the biggest prize of the night, California.
- Expectations are building up that Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren will step down from the race giving way to two favourites.
China – Private PMI measures mimicked previously released numbers for government owned enterprises and reflect a total collapse in the business activity in February.
- Caixin Manufacturing PMI: 40.3 v 51.1 in January and 46.0 forecast.
- Caixin Services PMI: 26.5 v 51.8 in January and 48.0 forecast.
- Caixin Composite PMI: 27.5 v 51.9 in January.
China – concern that Coronavirus now arriving by plane into China
- It is ironic that China which has worked so hard to contain and slow transmission of the Coronavirus is now concerned that the virus is arriving back into China from overseas.
Hong Kong – Business activity dropped to the lowest level on record in February beating the level recorded during a 2003 SARS episode.
- Markit PMI came in at 33.1 last month, down from 46.8 in January and marked the steepest drop since at least 1998, when the survey began.
- “Measures taken in response to the Covid-19 situation and general fear of being infected saw business activity and new sales sinking at a record pace in an economy that has been beset earlier by political protests and U.S.-China trade war tensions,” Markit commented on the data.
Eurozone – Final PMI numbers point the strongest growth in the region in six-months in February, although, outlook looks weak amid more news of the spreading coronavirus.
- Growth was supported by a robust increase in service sector activity while manufacturing production decline slowed down.
- On the downside, exports of both goods and services are now in decline as virus hurts demand and disrupts supply chains.
- “While the PMI data so far for the first quarter are signalling a 0.1-0.2% increase in GDP, there are clear downside risks and a likely weakening of the economy in March,” Markit commented on numbers.
- Markit Composite PMI: 51.6 v 51.3 in January and 51.6 forecast.
Germany – Retail sales rebounded from in January after falling in the previous month indicating private consumption remained robust at the start of the year.
- Demand is supported by record-low unemployment, moderate inflation and solid wage growth.
- Although the onset of the coronavirus related disruption is likely to see numbers deteriorating in coming months.
- Retail Sales (%mom/yoy): 0.9/1.8 v -2.0/1.7 in December and 0.9/1.5 forecast.
South Korea – The government announced a $9.8bn fiscal stimulus package today.
- “As we understand that the economy is in a state of emergency, we are putting all our policy focus on minimizing the economic fallout, especially for the vulnerable sectors, small- to medium-sized businesses and self-employed people,” Finance Ministry said.
- New budget is planned to be presented to the National Assembly tomorrow.
Iran frees prisoners on bail on temporary basis to ease overcrowding and combat spread of Coronavirus
- We do have to wonder how many might return after their authorised absence from prison.
- Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe may also be freed as part of this strategy.
US$1.1178/eur vs 1.1115/eur yesterday. Yen 107.40/$ vs 108.12/$. SAr 15.362/$ vs 15.520/$. $1.279/gbp vs $1.278/gbp. 0.661/aud vs 0.656/aud. CNY 6.933/$ vs 6.982/$.
Gold US$1,636/oz vs US$1,593/oz yesterday - Gold surges on FED emergency rate cut
- Gold prices continued to rise on Wednesday after surging more than 3% as a result of the US Federal Reserve cutting interest rates.
- The Fed cut rates by 50 basis points in an emergency move to alleviate the lack of confidence and market activity as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Spot gold climbed 0.3% to $1,645/oz earlier this morning, after registering its biggest one-day percentage gain since 2016 yesterday (Reuters).
- Whilst the Fed’s decision resulted the 3% increase in the price of gold, the Dow Jones saw a 3% decline, and whilst US equities were initially higher, they were sold off dramatically (Kitco News).
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Basic Resources index (SXPP) rose for the third consecutive day, as must as 2.4% due to the emergency interest rate cut.
- Rio Tinto was up 3.5%, BHP 2%, Glencore 2.4% and Anglo American up 2.7% - these four stocks account for around 65% of the SXPP.
Gold ETFs 85.1moz vs US$84.6moz yesterday
Platinum US$879/oz vs US$861/oz yesterday - WPIC – Market surplus to extend in 2020
- The World Platinum Investment Council expect increased automotive demand for platinum, offsetting weaker jewellery demand in China and a decline in investment buying.
- The 2020 forecast indicates a market surplus of 119,000oz – up from 65,000 oz last year.
- Total demand for platinum this year is expected at 8.00Moz vs 8.13Moz in 2019.
- Total supply this year is expected to be relatively unchanged, at 8.12Moz – down just 8,000oz.
- Tighter government regulations on automotive emissions are expected to increase demand for platinum this year, with the WPIC predicting platinum consumption by automakers to climb 4% to 3.01Moz.
- A significant increase in investment demand more than offset lower automotive, jewellery and industrial demand in 2019 compared to 2018. Whilst ETF demand is expected to be robust in 2020, the WPIC are anticipating a fall to 3.3Moz compared to 9.9Moz in 2019.
- Whilst the WPIC’s 2020 forecast doesn’t include any loss as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the report says that forecast demand could be materially lower if the virus is not contained in the coming months.
Palladium US$2,465/oz vs US$2,535/oz yesterday
Silver US$17.20/oz vs US$16.72/oz yesterday
Copper US$ 5,713/t vs US$5,700/t yesterday
Aluminium US$ 1,728/t vs US$1,717/t yesterday
Nickel US$ 12,740/t vs US$12,700/t yesterday
Zinc US$ 1,988/t vs US$2,023/t yesterday
Lead US$ 1,834/t vs US$1,847/t yesterday
Tin US$ 16,870/t vs US$16,625/t yesterday
Oil US$51.7/bbl vs US$52.7/bbl yesterday
Natural Gas US$1.789/mmbtu vs US$1.775/mmbtu yesterday
Uranium US$24.75/lb vs US$24.80/lb yesterday
Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$85.9/t vs US$85.7/t - Chinese iron ore futures rebound on stimulus optimism
- Chinese iron ore futures rose for a third straight session today, due to a growing sentiment that further government stimulus will be rolled out which is expected to support the manufacturing sector.
- The Dalian Commodity Exchange’s most-traded May iron ore contract rose 0.9% to 600 yuan ($95.13/t), after falling 2.3% in the morning (Reuters).
- Iron ore prices may have risen more if it wasn’t for China’s steadily rising inventory of steel products, raising doubts over a recovery in demand.
- Tightening supply is thought to be supporting supply, as Brazil’s iron ore exports were down 23.6% in February compared to a year earlier, amid heavy rains in the south-east of the country (Fastmarkets MB).
Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$531.7/t vs US$530.2/t - Jingye Group confirm £1.2bn investment in British Steel
- The Chinese company announced yesterday that the company would save 3,200 jobs in the Scunthorpe and Teesside plants, whilst modernising the towns’ steelworks.
- The sale of British Steel is due to be completed on the 9th of March for £50m, a deal which the Jingye CEO has hailed as “a new chapter in British Steelmaking”.
Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$57.6/t vs US$57.0/t
Coking coal swap Australia FOB US$156.0/t vs US$156.0/t
Cobalt LME 3m US$33,500/t vs US$33,500/t
NdPr Rare Earth Oxide (China) US$39,958/t vs US$40,081/t
Lithium carbonate 99% (China) US$5,770/t vs US$5,746/t
Ferro Vanadium 80% FOB (China) US$28.0/kg vs US$28.3/kg
Antimony Trioxide 99.5% EU (China) US$5.3/kg vs US$5.2/kg
Tungsten APT European US$240-245/mtu vs US$240-245/mtu
Graphite flake 94% C, -100 mesh, fob China US$540/t vs US$540/t
Graphite spherical 99.95% C, 15 microns, fob China US$2,550/t vs US$2,550/t
Zenith, UK Independent fleet company see EV sales increase 300%
- The company has experienced a surge in sales, a 300% increase in salary sacrifice fleets and 250% in its company car fleets in the past 6 months. (Fleet leasing)
- The staggering rise in popularity may be in part at least a result of BIK (benefit in kind) tax changes announced in 2019. The alterations mean that for a pure EV with no tailpipe emissions company car drivers will be taxed at 0% in 2020/21. The new rates will be adopted into law following the budget on March 11th. (AM Online)
- Company cars registered before April 6, 2020 will pay a 0% tax whilst those registered from that date will see a 2%pt drop. Vehicles with emissions from 1-50g/km and a pure electric mile range of 130+ miles will also benefit from the 0% rate. Both rates will then increase by 1% in 2021/22 and 2% in 2022/23.
- Zenith recently joined the EV100 Initiative, which supports accelerating the transition to EVs and normalising electric transport by 2030. The Company has 140,000 vehicles under management, working closely with industry bodies to lobby the government and support the industry. (Fleet Point)
Hong Kong brothers to release supercar to rival Tesla’s Roadster
- Brothers Jason and Gary Leung who founded Apex Motors will unveil the codenamed AP-0, a $195,000 two seater super car at a live-stream event on March 13th. (Bloomberg Green)
- The car will be manufactured in the UK, with production to commence in Q4’2022. The company is targeting 500 units in the first year.
- Apex Motors suggest the AP-0 will have a range of 320 miles (515km) and can recharge to 80% in 20 minutes with a faster charger.
- The brothers are targeting China as the key market, a tough proposition given the saturation of companies and downturn in demand on the back of subsidy reductions.
Its not all blue skies for Tesla….
- Tesla’s short sellers had a rare good week in recent months, recouping $2.8bn of the $10.6bn of losses YTD as Tesla’s stock plunge along with the rest of the stock market. Tesla short sellers have $12bn in short interest against the shares. (Financial Times)
- Recent months have not been kind to Tesla sceptics, before the coronavirus driven plunge the stock was up 100% for the year. It has since lost 19% of its value from the high in mid-February.
- It would be prudent to suggest this is perhaps not a vindication of these short positions but rather a consequence of the global lockdown in response to Covid-19.
- Tesla’s lack of brand recognition in Japan means the Californian EV maker is struggling in the world’s 3rd largest auto market. (The Japan Times)
- Elon Musk’s grandstanding about Japan in 2010 after Tesla went public has not yielded the results he perhaps would have thought. The brand has struggled to gain traction and Tesla has gone as far as asking the Japan Automobile Importers Association to withhold publication of it sales figures in the country.
- Predictions of Japan becoming Tesla’s #2 market have not come true, an industry insider has suggested just 1378 units were sold in 2019. Tesla’s direct-to-consumer business model does not sit well in a country where car buyers are accustomed to a high level of hospitality with car dealers often offering perks including complimentary maintenance, free car washes and home visits for loyal customers.
Anglo American (AAL LN) 1947.5 pence, Mkt Cap £23.4bn – De Beers diamond sales hit by fallout of corona-virus
- Diamond sales at De Beers for the 2nd sales cycle of the year amounted to a provisional US$3555m approximately 28% lower than the US$496m recorded at the equivalent stage last year and US$196m lower than the revised US$551m for the preceding, first sale of 2020.
- Commenting on the sales, De Beers’ CEO, Bruce Cleaver, said that “Following an improvement in demand for rough diamonds during the first sales cycle of 2020, we recognised the impact of COVID-19 Coronavirus on customers focused on supplying the Chinese market and put in place additional targeted flexibility to enable customers to defer allocations of the relevant rough diamonds.”
- The De Beers results show reductions compared with both the preceding sale in 2020 as well as with the equivalent sale last year. The impact of the corona-virus, particularly on Chinese sales, is clearly adding to the pressure on an already weak market.
Aura Energy* (AURA LN) 0.25p, Mkt Cap £4.0m – Clarification of moves to restructure the board
- Aura Energy has issued an announcement clarifying the background to moves by its largest shareholder, ASEAN Deep Value Fund and Mr. John Bennett to seek “significant changes to the board of directors through the nomination of six new directors”.
- The company advises that following the partial completion, in February 2019, of fund-raising plans “due to the failure of some subscribers to honour their subscription agreements” with shareholder approval it “executed a convertible note for $2 million with the Lind Global Macro Fund”.
- Aura Energy now reports that “In the past 4-6 weeks ASEAN, which holds an approximate 18% shareholding in Aura, approached Aura with a proposal to replace the existing convertible note”.
- The company outlines the terms of the proposal, which include an interest rate of 15%, “Majority board representation for ASEAN”, and a 5% finders fee and describes that it “rejected the offer on these terms which it considered to be unacceptable and well in excess of terms for comparable transactions.”
- Aura Energy also raises questions as to the suitability of certain of the nominees for directorships as “No details of the experience or qualifications of the three directors proposed by John Bennett, and limited information on the ASEAN nominees, have been provided to Aura”.
- The company stresses that it has “always maintained a strong focus on keeping costs at as low a level as possible” and points out that the cuts implemented in November 2019 have resulted in their inability to retain the services of some key technical staff. We would also suspect that dealing with the continuing issues over governance and control of the company also comes at a cost..
*SP Angel act as Nomad & Broker to Aura Energy
Condor Gold* (CNR LN) 29.5p, Mkt Cap £27.9m – High grade pit scenario for La India
- Condor Gold has provided information on a high grade open-pit mining scenario for the development of its 1.1moz La India gold project in Nicaragua.
- The scenario, which is one of a number under consideration as part of mining dilution studies being undertaken by the consultants, SRK, considers a potential high grade open pit, with a relatively low pre-production capital expenditure requirement for a 1,000tpd plant producing 80-100,000oz pa of gold for the initial five years of the project.
- A second option considers the addition of high-grade feeder pits at Mestiza and America “which would increase production to approximately 120,000oz gold per annum for 7 years”.
- The studies are intended to examine the mining dilution arising from the presence of multiple narrow but high grade veins, particularly in the satellite pits which require a degree of selective mining to optimise the development of the resource.
- Based on the studies completed to date, “The recommended case for the Mestiza deposit considered a cut-off grade of 0.75g/t gold” while “The recommended case for the America deposit considered a cut-off grade of 1.5g/t gold.”
- In addition, “Condor has completed internal studies on readily accessible high grade within the permitted La India open pit, which hosts an economic Mineral Reserve of 6.9Mt at 3.0g/t gold for 675,000 oz gold. The "mini pits" within the La India open pit contain diluted tonnage of 387Kt at 4.29g/t gold for 53,300 oz gold”.
- Commenting on the outcome of the studies, Chairman and CEO, Mark Child, indicated that the studies have shown that “When these feeder pits are added to the high grade material within a series of "mini pits" containing 387Kt at 4.29g/t gold for 53,300 oz gold within the permitted La India open pit, the total diluted mill feed is 1,637Kt at a 4.65g/t gold diluted head grade containing 245,000 oz gold. This would support a 1,000 tpd production feed to either a small plant constructed by Condor or a toll milling agreement with nearby processing plants for approximately five years, while leaving the bulk of the La India open pit intact, along with the potential for underground production for a long-range development potential”.
- Outlining the future work plan “Condor intends to complete the ongoing mining dilution studies and pit optimisation studies, which are underway, and incorporate the results of those studies in a mine production schedule”.
Conclusion: Condor Gold is giving careful consideration to the effective management of mine dilution on the development of La India and the associated satellite deposits. This work should inform a future production decision and we look forward to the production schedule which arises from this work. The possibility of reduced pre-production capital costs as a result of starting with a small plant or using nearby toll-milling should prove beneficial to the economics of the project.
*SP Angel act as sole broker to Condor Gold
Edenville Energy (EDL LN) 0.04p, Mkt Cap £2.9m – Rukwa wash plant operations restart
- The Company restarted the Rukwa wash plant yesterday using the available 6,000t of unwashed ROM coal on site.
- Mining operations remain temporarily suspended as the area is reported to have experienced one of the wettest ‘rainy’ seasons in many years.
- Expectations are for mining to recommence in the northern area pit this month unless weather does not improve.
*SP Angel acts as Nomad and Broker to Edenville Energy
Vast Resources* (VAST LN) 0.26p, Mkt Cap £26.2m – Chiadzwa Community Diamond Project update
- The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development informed the Company that “al internal processes leading to the conclusion of the JV are expected to be finalised during the month of Mar/20”.
- The JV includes the Company’s majority owned Katanga Mining, a JV between Vast and the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT), and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company.
*SP Angel acts as Broker to Vast Resources
John Meyer – 0203 470 0490
Simon Beardsmore – 0203 470 0484
Sergey Raevskiy – 0203 470 0474
Richard Parlons – 0203 470 0472
Abigail Wayne – 0203 470 0534
Rob Rees – 0203 470 0535
Prince Frederick House
35-39 Maddox Street London
*SP Angel are the No1 integrated nomad and broker by number of mining brokerage clients on AIM according to the AIM Advisers Ranking Guide (joint brokerships excluded)
+SP Angel employees may have previously held, or currently hold, shares in the companies mentioned in this note.
Sources of commodity prices
Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Silver
BGNL (Bloomberg Generic Composite rate, London)
Gold ETFs, Steel
Copper, Aluminium, Nickel, Zinc, Lead, Tin, Cobalt
Natural Gas, Uranium, Iron Ore
Bloomberg OTC Composite
Lithium Carbonate, Ferro Vanadium, Antimony
This note is a marketing communication and comprises non-independent research. This means it has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of its dissemination.
This note is intended only for distribution to Professional Clients and Eligible Counterparties as defined under the rules of the Financial Conduct Authority and is not directed at Retail Clients.
This note is confidential and is being supplied to you solely for your information and may not be reproduced, redistributed or passed on, directly or indirectly, to any other person or published in whole or in part, for any purpose.
This note has been issued by SP Angel Corporate Finance LLP (‘SPA’) to promote its investment services. Neither the information nor the opinions expressed herein constitutes, or is to be construed as, an offer or invitation or other solicitation or recommendation to buy or sell investments. The information contained herein is based on sources which we believe to be reliable, but we do not represent that it is wholly accurate or complete. All opinions and estimates included in this report are subject to change without notice. It is not investment advice and does not take into account the investment objectives and policies, financial position or portfolio composition of any recipient. SPA is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. Where the subject of the research is a client company of SPA we may have shown a draft of the research (or parts of it) to the company prior to publication to check factual accuracy, soundness of assumptions etc.
Distribution of this note does not imply distribution of future notes covering the same issuers, companies or subject matter.
Where the investment is traded on AIM it should be noted that liquidity may be lower and price movements more volatile.
SPA, its partners, officers and/or employees may own or have positions in any investment(s) mentioned herein or related thereto and may, from time to time add to, or dispose of, any such investment(s).
SPA is registered in England and Wales with company number OC317049. The registered office address is Prince Frederick House, 35-39 Maddox Street, London W1S 2PP. SPA is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority and is a Member of the London Stock Exchange plc.
MiFID II - Based on our analysis we have concluded that this note may be received free of charge by any person subject to the new MiFID II rules on research unbundling pursuant to the exemptions within Article 12(3) of the MiFID II Delegated Directive and FCA COBS Rule 2.3A.19.
A full analysis is available on our website here http://www.spangel.co.uk/legal-and-regulatory-notices.html. If you have any queries, feel free to contact our Compliance Officer, Tim Jenkins (email@example.com).
SPA research ratings – Based on a time horizon of 12 months: Buy = Expected return of more than 15%, Hold = Expected return between -15% and +15%, Sell = Expected return of less than 15%
Disclaimer & Declaration of Interest
The information, investment views and recommendations in this article are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any financial product relating to any companies under discussion or to engage in or refrain from doing so or engaging in any other transaction. Any opinions or comments are made to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer but no responsibility is accepted for actions based on such opinions or comments. Vox Markets may receive payment from companies mentioned for enhanced profiling or publication presence. The writer may or may not hold investments in the companies under discussion.