London, March 2nd (Argus) —

The OECD has raised the prospect of the coronavirus, halving the rate of global economic growth this year.

Under what the OECD called the “domino” prospect of widespread contagion. Countries such as Japan and the Eurozone could experience recessions. Growth could be 1.5pc in 2020, compared with the 2.9pc projected before the coronavirus outbreak.

Under the OECD’s base case for a “temporary blow” — a severe, short-lived downturn followed by a gradual recovery could happen in China, Japan, South Korea and Australia. With a much less pointed effect in the rest of the world. The OECD expects global economic growth at 2.4pc this year, down from 2.9pc in 2019.

Whichever case transpires, the OECD said governments must “act immediately” to limit the coronavirus’ spread. Governments can do that by protecting people and businesses from its effects and shore up demand in the economy. It said measures should include temporary tax and budget moves and the provision of additional liquidity into the banking system.

In Northern Italy, manufacturing has already started to suffer. Metal traders said they were having trouble finding freight to move material around the region. And Finish producer Outukumpu shut its stainless-steel service centre in Castelleone, Northern Italy last week.

The initial outbreak in China raised prices for various minor metals dependant on the country for supply. Now China’s outbreak seems to be under control, those metal prices have started to fall.

Argus assessed prices for 99.7pc manganese flake, which reached $2,250-2,400/t at the height of China’s outbreak on February 11th , but have now fallen back down to $1,950-2,050/t on February 27th. Magnesium prices also reached highs of $2,450-2,600/t in Rotterdam on February 13th, but fell to $2,300-2,400/t on February 27th just as China started to re-open some logistical services.

Some markets have remained higher on supply disruptions. Prices for antimony ingots were assessed at $6,200-6,400/t for China on February 20th, up by $600/t since the beginning of February. Prices for 5-5-3 grade silicon metal were also up by €130/t since the beginning of February to €1,850-1,950/t delivered duty paid.

There are now concerns that demand for these metals could subside in Europe and Asia because of large coronavirus outbreaks there. Prices for metals are expected to fall if there were long-term shutdowns at factories in Italy, South Korea and other developed economies.

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This article was retrieved from Argus Metals