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Welcome to Lord Copper

Opinions about lots of things - mostly related to the worlds' metal markets

Aluminium Upsets

20 June 2018

The situation in aluminium following President Trump’s unilateral declaration of import duties is producing the most chaos in this market for quite a long time. Indeed, I would suggest we have to go back to the early 1960’s and the Gentlemen’s Agreement to find its equivalent.

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Zollverein or Customs Union

06 June 2018

Sanctions and tariff barriers are amongst the hot topics of the moment. It’s worth re-iterating the difference between them, because although the effects may in some ways be similar, the two issues come from completely different places. Sanctions are punitive; a country, a regime, has in some way offended; sanctions are imposed on its trade or its financial institutions as a punishment for its infringement. They are intended directly to cause difficulties and hardship. Tariffs, on the other hand, are imposed on the import of goods from abroad in order to protect a domestic industry from competition, and thus support domestic employment.

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Carrier of Fine Wine

30 May 2018

I don’t think it’s a secret that I enjoy the occasional tipple although, without a conscious effort, I do not drink anywhere near what I did. I guess my consumption was at its peak during the break up of the former Soviet Union and for a few years thereafter, simply because of social circumstances, although I cannot entirely blame Mother Russia for this. These days it's an occasional glass of wine with a meal, whereas during the period I refer to it was noon and night every day and with no upper stop loss.

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Politicians, sanctions and corporations

23 May 2018

I wonder if every generation - when it gets to a certain age - begins to feel that the world is in a terrible state? I know my father was convinced that the end of Empire and the relative decline in the global position of the United Kingdom presaged the coming of a new Dark Age, with the (relatively) newly democratised rising up against his comfortable status quo.

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Vodka for breakfast and a yellow Ferrari

16 May 2018

The granting of credit, or the acquisition of security, can be a bit of a minefield in a business where transactions take place which may not be settled for many months or years into the future, against a constantly moving valuation which gives rise to potential margin requirements. Theoretically - and as it’s reported to shareholders - the decision follows a clear, unambiguous process of analysis, undertaken by those well removed from the trading decisions.

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Intelligent Design???

09 May 2018

In Douglas Adams’ radio series, originally from the 1970s, there is a character called Slartibartfast, whose task it is to design planets. We don’t need to go into detail here, suffice it to say that one of his proudest achievements is the coast of Norway, an intricate design with kilometre after kilometre of complicated fjords, giving it, in his view, a lovely baroque feel.

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EVs and Changing Behaviour

02 May 2018

When we think of the bottlenecks surrounding the rate of adoption of electric vehicles, there are probably two things that first come to mind. One is the speed with which the cars can actually be designed, built and put on the road, and the other is the availability of electric charging points to fuel them.

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