PE Ledger

The $5 billion metal hoard that the rest of the world wants but can’t have

Giant piles of raw metal draped in black tarpaulin sit in an industrial park roughly an hour’s drive from Ho Chi Minh City on the South China Sea coast. The coveted hoard, which runs a kilometre in length, is estimated to be worth $5 billion at current prices.

Those in the know in the esoteric world of metal say the stockpile in Vietnam is the largest they’ve ever seen — and this is in an industry that spends a lot of time accumulating stockpiles while analysts spend a lot of time locating them. However, in terms of the increasingly undersupplied market, it’s a situation that may never be repeated.

It has to do with Vietnam’s customs authority, which is why it is unlikely to move anytime soon. Meanwhile, the history of how it came to be so important sheds light on a ubiquitous but volatile commodity at a time when manufacturers of everything from auto parts to beer cans are clamouring for more as the coronavirus outbreak fades and China restricts supplies.

While there used to be millions of tonnes of aluminium in ports across the world, from Detroit and New Orleans in the United States to Rotterdam in Europe and Malaysia’s Port Klang, market observers say the stockpile 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Vietnam is possibly the only significant one left.

To put it in context, it’s the equivalent of India’s total yearly consumption, according to Duncan Hobbs, a London-based analyst with commodities trader Concord Resources who has covered metals markets for the past 25 years.

“We’re seeing the world market’s greatest deficit in at least 20 years, and this stockpile would not only satisfy that deficit, but it would also leave you with some leftover,” he said.

The wealth was seized in 2019 as part of a US-led anti-dumping probe into a Chinese entrepreneur. Global Vietnam Aluminium Ltd., or GVA, according to Vietnamese authorities, gathered it from China. They haven’t finished their inquiry, despite the fact that the initial investigation into GVA was terminated due to a lack of evidence.

Only a small portion of the 1.8 million tonnes of aluminium has been handed to GVA for production, under the cautious eye of security personnel.Get  Prince Edward Island and Canada’s  top News, Latest News and other News of the world only at the most trustable news website of Canada

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