2023 London Metals Exchange Seminar: Economic Keynote Address by Saad Rahim, Trafigura’s Chief Economist

Published on11 Oct 2023

Saad Rahim delivered the keynote economic address at the London Metal Exchange Metals Seminar in London on Monday 9 October 2023.

 In his presentation, Saad touched on the forces driving global metals markets in 2023 and why demand in China for copper, aluminium and zinc is actually better than most people realise.“In metal markets, macro-economics really matters. Interest rates, inflation, and the US dollar have all been key drivers of metals prices and not the fundamentals of supply and demand,” he told delegates, explaining the metals markets are small compared with the trillions of dollars invested in foreign exchange markets.“Small moves in and out of FX markets by big macro funds tend to swamp our markets,” he said. “That’s why the US dollar matters so much”

 On China, Saad said the property market remains a concern but when it comes to metal demand other parts of the economy were more than compensating, in particular renewable energy (exports of solar panels are booming), investment in the power grid and, of course, electric vehicles.“There isn’t actually a copper demand problem in China. It’s the same in aluminium. We have lost 2 million tonnes of property demand but it has been covered by other sectors.”

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