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Coronavirus 'changes market sector dynamic materially', says RBC

The boom in China’s metals consumption over the past two decades means a flu strain like the coronavirus could have a far greater effect on demand than the SARS epidemic of 2003, RBC analyst Tyler Broda said in a note on Tuesday.
Coronavirus 'changes market sector dynamic materially', says RBC Coronavirus 'changes market sector dynamic materially', says RBC Coronavirus 'changes market sector dynamic materially', says RBC Coronavirus 'changes market sector dynamic materially', says RBC Coronavirus 'changes market sector dynamic materially', says RBC

China consumes about 70% of the world's iron ore

Staff reporter

Broda points to the fact China consumed about 35% of the world's iron ore and 20% of its copper in 2003, but in 2019 those percentages had swelled to about 70% and 50% respectively.

"In our view, even a less virulent disease could create more impact than comparisons to 2003 and this appears to be what the copper and iron ore markets are telling us, down 7% and 10% respectively over the past 5 days," said Broda.

He added that a shock to economic activity "could cause a financial stress event that might be particularly troublesome for the levered property sector, a key driver of steel demand".

However, Broda said China's policymakers would likely provide emergency support to minimise impact of any demand slump.

SP Angel's John Meyer said the virus could impact economic growth, but early indications were that copper market participants were not too concerned by developments

"Copper inventories continue to draw down in LME warehouses indicating that the market does not consider the 2019-nCoV to be of severe impact to the Chinese economy", Meyer said in a note.