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Are Commodities In Crisis?

Friday March 22, 2019

In the latest edition of the Numbers Report, we’ll take a look at some of the most interesting figures put out this week in the energy and metals sectors. Each week we’ll dig into some data and provide a bit of explanation on what drives the numbers.

Let’s take a look.

1. Another coal miner bites the dust

- Cloud Peak Energy (NYSE: CLD) was once hailed as one of the stronger U.S. coal producers, one that would still thrive in a declining market because of its low-cost coal in Wyoming, far from the mined out seams in Appalachia.
- Last week, Cloud Peak warned that bankruptcy was a possibility, and its stock price now trades at a few cents per share, down from over $5 per share in early 2018, and over $20 per share five years ago.
- Cloud Peak is emblematic of the coal industry as a whole. Shuttered power plants have left the company with a declining customer base. “This is not a problem with a fix,” Jeremy Sussman, an analyst with Clarksons Platou Securities, told Bloomberg.

2. Supply problems for copper

- Trading volume for copper futures spiked in recent days, which Bloomberg says is an indication of a supply shortage.
- A huge bet on higher prices for copper was placed on March 18.
- Citigroup says that supply will fall short of demand by about 116,000 metric tons this year, a second consecutive year of a deficit.
- Inventories have declined by…

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