The news in the commodities business is not showing any signs of improving.
Overnight, global commodity giant Glencore dropped 9 percent in London trading after announcing that its cash flow (EBIDTA) in the first half of year was down almost 30 percent from same period last year.
The stock, which began trading in 2011, hit an historic low, and is down 43 percent since the slide began in June of this year.
Which, not surprisingly, is when the slide in China began.
What is surprising is the comment from Glencore’s CEO, Ivan Glasenberg. He did not place the blame on China. He blamed it on speculative hedge fund activity.
“It’s the funds driving [prices lower] and not the actual demand in China,” he reportedly said in a media call. “The actual demand in China is actually not that bad on our commodities.”
Regardless, there are other very clear signs that China and the global slowdown is very real.
A small Finnish company that manufactures mining equipment, Metso, announced overnight it was closing one of its plants in York, PA that has been operating since the early 1900s. Closing. That is a pretty definitive indication the mining industry is changing.
“This is a permanent change in the mining industry and we need to find new and more efficient ways to run our business,” a Metso official said.
One of Metso’s competitors, Caterpillar, is also seeing a collapse in demand for mining equipment. That is not speculative hedge fund activity.
In China, it was another volatile day, this time the opposite of yesterday, with shares falling in the morning session, then miraculously recovering in the afternoon session.