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US Record Smallest Monthly Budget Deficit Since December 2019

US Record Smallest Monthly Budget Deficit Since December 2019

After spending like a drunken sailor over the past two years, and even launching helicopter money to fund its unprecedented spending spree in the post-covid era, the US has become.

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US Record Smallest Monthly Budget Deficit Since December 2019

After spending like a drunken sailor over the past two years, and even launching helicopter money to fund its unprecedented spending spree in the post-covid era, the US has become borderline austere in recent months.

According to the latest Treasury monthly statement, in December, the US budget deficit was a paltry $21.3 billion, which while slightly more than expectations of a just $5 billion deficit, was a huge drop from the $143.6 billion deficit record in December 2020. The deficit was the result of $487 billion in receipts, a whopping increase of 40.6% Y/Y and $508 billion in outlays, which was just a 3.7% increase vs a year ago.

The December deficit of $21.3 billion was also the smallest deficit going back to December 2019.

On a year to date basis, in the first three months of fiscal 2022, the US has collected $1.052 trillion while spending $1.430 trillion, for a cumulative deficit of $378 billion.

While overall spending was not at the insane level observed in the aftermath of the covid pandemic, when the Treasury was funding various stimmy plans, it is still about $100 billion higher than the biggest pre-covid spending month.

The good news is that in December, receipts clearly jumped and were also one of the highest on record excluding the traditionally strongest month of April when taxes are due.

Finally, on a cumulative basis, the insanity of the second half of fiscal 2020 and 2021 appear to be over, because the YTD deficit of $377.7 billion was in line with pre-covid years and far below the $573 billion cumulative deficit that was record one year ago.

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/12/2022 - 15:30

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Zinc Outlook 2022: Analysts Expect Small Refined Deficit

Click here to read the previous zinc outlook. After an uncertain 2020, zinc rose steadily in 2021, hitting a 14 year high in the second half of the year.The power crisis and increasing demand for the base metal as strict COVID-19-related lockdown restrict

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Click here to read the previous zinc outlook.

After an uncertain 2020, zinc rose steadily in 2021, hitting a 14 year high in the second half of the year.

The power crisis and increasing demand for the base metal as strict COVID-19-related lockdown restrictions were lifted supported prices for zinc during the 12 month period.

As the new year begins, the Investing News Network (INN) caught up with analysts to find out what’s ahead for zinc supply, demand and prices. Read on to learn what they had to say.


Zinc outlook 2022: 2021 in review


Zinc prices kicked off 2021 above the US$2,800 per tonne mark after rallying for most of the second half of 2020. A recovery in the steel sector helped the base metal throughout the first half of 2021 as COVID-19 lockdown measures eased, supporting demand for zinc.

Commenting on the main trends seen in the market in 2021, Helen O’Cleary of CRU Group told INN zinc’s demand recovery was stronger than expected in the US and Europe, but lagged in Asia excluding China.

In October, zinc prices hit their highest level in 14 years, hovering around the US$3,800 mark on the back of the power crisis and costs associated with carbon emissions.

“Zinc’s price outperformed expectations in 2021 on the back of strong demand and smelter disruption, particularly in Q4, when European smelters started to cut back due to record high energy prices,” O’Cleary said.

One of the world’s top zinc smelters, Nyrstar (EBR:NYR), said back in October that it was planning to cut production at its European smelter operations. Mining giant Glencore (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) also said it was adjusting production to reduce exposure to peak power pricing periods during the day.

Speaking with INN, Carlos Sanchez of CPM Group said zinc has been in recovery since prices bottomed out in 2020, helped in part by vaccination efforts globally and also by supply disruptions around the world.

“The most recent issue is the concern about high energy input costs into smelters in Europe — that's been pushing prices higher recently,” he said. Even though prices could not sustain that level until the end of the year, zinc remained above US$3,500 on the last trading day of 2021.

Zinc outlook 2022: Supply and demand


As mentioned, demand for base metals took an upward turn in 2021 as the world economy recovered on the back of stimulus plans and as vaccination rollouts took place in many parts of the world.

Looking at what’s ahead for zinc demand in 2022, CRU is expecting Chinese demand growth to slow to 1.1 percent year-on-year as the effects of stimulus wane.

“In the world ex-China we expect demand to grow by 2.4 percent, with the ongoing auto sector recovery partially offsetting the construction sector slowdown in Europe and the US,” O’Cleary said.

CPM is also expecting zinc demand to remain healthy in 2022, both inside and outside of China, including demand from developing countries. “One thing that remains uncertain is what will happen with COVID,” Sanchez said.

Moving onto the supply side of the picture, the analyst expects that if everything remains status quo, disruptions are unlikely to happen.

“There are going to be some blips here and there, but there have been some labor issues in Peru; yes, there's been some energy problems in Europe and China, but that's a fact in zinc output and in demand to an extent,” Sanchez said. “But really the catalyst that we don't know, and how it can affect prices, is how COVID will impact industries.”

For her part, O’Cleary is expecting most disruptions to happen in the first quarter, with CRU currently having a disruption allowance of 55,000 tonnes for that period.

“But this may well tip over into Q2,” she said. CRU is expecting mine supply to grow by 5.1 percent year-on-year in 2022, and for the concentrates market to register a 190,000 tonne surplus.

Meanwhile, smelter output is forecast to grow by less than 1 percent year-on-year in 2022, according to the firm, which is currently forecasting a small refined zinc deficit in 2022.

“Should smelter disruption exceed our 55,000 tonne allowance the deficit could grow,” O’Cleary said. “But high prices and a tight Chinese market could lead to further releases of refined zinc from the State Reserve Bureau stockpile, which could push the market towards balance or even a small surplus.”

Similarly, CPM is expecting the market to shift into a deficit in 2022. “That's due to the strong demand, recovering economies of COVID and its financial economic effects,” Sanchez said.

Zinc outlook 2022: What’s ahead


Commenting on how zinc might perform next year, O’Cleary said prices are likely to remain high in Q1 due to the threat of further energy-related cutbacks in Europe during the winter heating season.

O’Cleary suggested investors keep an eye on high prices and inflation, as they could hamper zinc demand growth.

Similarly, CPM expects prices to stay above current levels and to average around US$3,400 for the year. “I wouldn't be surprised to see zinc top US$4,000,” Sanchez said. “But at the same time, I don't think it holds above there; you'd have to have really strong fundamentals for that to happen, stronger than what's happening now.”

The CPM director suggested zinc investors should keep an eye on COVID-19 developments and be quick movers, taking a position whether it's short or long.

Looking ahead, FocusEconomics analysts see prices for zinc cooling markedly next year before falling further in 2023, as output gradually improves and new mines come online.

“Moreover, fading logistical disruptions and easing energy prices will exert additional downward pressure, although solid demand for steel will continue to support prices,” they said in their December report, adding that pandemic-related uncertainty is clouding the zinc outlook.

Panelists recently polled by the firm see prices averaging US$2,827 in Q4 2022, and US$2,651 in Q4 2023.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates.

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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Spread & Containment

Zinc Outlook 2022: Small Refined Zinc Deficit Ahead

Click here to read the previous zinc outlook. Following an uncertain 2020, zinc prices steadily rose throughout 2021 to hit a 14 year high in the second half of the year.The power crisis and an increasing demand for the base metal as the strict lockdown..

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Click here to read the previous zinc outlook.

Following an uncertain 2020, zinc prices steadily rose throughout 2021 to hit a 14 year high in the second half of the year.

The power crisis and an increasing demand for the base metal as the strict lockdown restrictions were lifted supported prices during the 12 month period.

As the new year begins, the Investing News Network (INN) caught up with analysts to find out what’s ahead for zinc supply, demand and prices.


Zinc outlook 2022: 2021 in review


Prices kicked off the year above the US$2,800 per tonne mark after rallying for most of the second half of 2020. The recovery in the steel sector helped the base metal throughout the first half of 2021 as COVID-19 lockdown measures eased, supporting demand for zinc.

Commenting on the main trends seen in the market in 2021, Helen O’Cleary of CRU Group told INN zinc’s demand recovery was stronger than expected in the US and Europe but lagged in Asia excluding China.

In October, zinc prices hit their highest level in 14 years, hovering around the US$3,800 mark on the back of the power crisis and cost associated with carbon emissions.

“Zinc’s price outperformed expectations in 2021 on the back of strong demand and smelter disruption, particularly in Q4 when European smelters started to cut back due to record high energy prices,” O’Cleary said.

One of the world’s top zinc smelters, Nyrstar (EBR:NYR), said in October it was planning to cut production at its European smelter operations. Mining giant Glencore (LSE:GLEN) also said it was adjusting production to reduce exposure to peak power pricing periods during the day.

Speaking with INN about zinc’s performance, Carlos Sanchez of CPM Group said zinc has been in recovery since prices bottomed out in 2020, helped in part by vaccination globally and also by supply disruptions around the world.

“The most recent issue is the concern about high energy input costs into smelters in Europe — that's been pushing prices higher recently,” he said.

Even though prices could not sustain that level until the end of the year, prices remained above US$3,500 on the last trading day of 2021.

Zinc outlook 2022: Supply and demand


As mentioned, demand for base metals saw an upward turn in 2021 as the world economy recovered on the back of stimulus plans and as vaccination rollouts took place in many parts of the world.

Looking at what’s ahead for demand in 2022, CRU is expecting Chinese demand growth to slow to 1.1 percent year-on-year as the effects of stimulus wane.

“In the world ex. China we expect demand to grow by 2.4 percent, with the ongoing auto sector recovery partially offsetting the construction sector slowdown in Europe and the US,” O’Cleary said.

CPM is also expecting demand to remain healthy in 2022, both in China and outside of China, including demand from developing countries.

“One thing that remains uncertain is what will happen with COVID,” Sanchez said.

Moving onto the supply side of the picture, the analyst expects that if everything remains status quo, disruptions are unlikely to happen.

“There are going to be some blips here and there, but there have been some labor issues in Peru, yes, there's been some energy problems in Europe and China, but that's a fact in zinc output and in demand to an extent,” Sanchez said. “But really the catalysts that we don't know, and how it can affect prices is how COVID will impact industries.”

For her part, O’Cleary is expecting most disruptions in Q1, with CRU currently having a disruption allowance of 55,000 tonnes for that period.

“But this may well tip over into Q2,” she said. CRU is expecting mine supply to grow by 5.10 percent year-on-year in 2022 and for the concentrates market to register a 190,000 tonnes surplus.

Meanwhile, smelter output is forecast to grow by less than 1 percent year-on-year in 2022, according to the firm, which is currently forecasting a small refined zinc deficit in 2022.

“Should smelter disruption exceed our 55,000 t allowance the deficit could grow,” O’Cleary said. “But high prices and a tight Chinese market could lead to further releases of refined zinc from the State Reserves Bureau stockpile, which could push the market towards balance or even a small surplus.”

Similarly, CPM Group is also expecting the market to shift into a deficit in 2022.

“That's due to the strong demand, recovering economies of COVID and its financial economic effects,” Sanchez said.

Zinc outlook 2022: What’s ahead


Commenting on how prices might perform next year, O’Cleary said prices are likely to remain high in Q1 due to the threat of further energy-related cutbacks in Europe during the winter heating season.

O’Cleary suggested investors to keep an eye on high prices and inflation, as these factors could hamper zinc demand growth.

Similarly, CPM Group is expecting prices to remain above current levels and to average around US$3,400 for the year.

“I wouldn't be surprised to see zinc top US$4,000,” Sanchez said. “But at the same time, I don't think it holds above there; you'd have to have really strong fundamentals for that to happen, stronger than what's happening now.”

The CPM director suggested zinc investors should keep an eye on COVID developments and be quick movers, taking a position whether it's short or long.

Looking ahead, for FocusEconomics analysts, prices for zinc are seen cooling markedly next year before falling further in 2023, as output gradually improves and new mines come online.

“Moreover, fading logistical disruptions and easing energy prices will exert additional downward pressure, although solid demand for steel will continue to support prices,” they said in their December report, adding that pandemic-related uncertainty clouds the outlook.

Panelists recently polled by the firm see prices averaging US$2,827 per metric tonne in Q4 2022 and US$2,651 per metric tonne in Q4 2023.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates.

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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Economics

China Unexpectedly Cuts Key Rate, Adds Liquidity As Economic Growth Slowed, Retail Sales Slump

China Unexpectedly Cuts Key Rate, Adds Liquidity As Economic Growth Slowed, Retail Sales Slump

A busy night started with weakness in US equity futures (Nasdaq down 0.5%) and an unexpected cut in a key China policy rate and a modest addition..

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China Unexpectedly Cuts Key Rate, Adds Liquidity As Economic Growth Slowed, Retail Sales Slump

A busy night started with weakness in US equity futures (Nasdaq down 0.5%) and an unexpected cut in a key China policy rate and a modest addition of liquidity. This was then followed by a mixed bag of China macro with a GDP beat (but slowing growth) but ugly retail sales disappointment. All of which sent the Yuan lower...

As Bloomberg reports, China lowered a key interest rate for the first time since the peak of the pandemic in 2020 as a property-market slump and repeated virus outbreaks dampened the nation’s growth outlook. The People’s Bank of China cut the rate on its one-year policy loans by 10 basis points to 2.85%. That’s the first reduction since April 2020. It also slashed the rate on the seven-day reverse repurchase agreements by the same magnitude to 2.1%.

The central bank made the move while offering 700 billion yuan ($110 billion) via the medium-term lending facility, exceeding the 500 billion yuan coming due. It added 100 billion yuan with seven-day reverse repos.

“The PBOC has accelerated its pace of policy easing in order to guide borrowing costs lower and to encourage credit supply,” said Yewei Yang, an analyst at Guosheng Securities Co.

“The move suggests China’s economic is weak and it will trigger a significant slide in borrowing costs.”

The cut to policy rates indicates the PBOC is taking easier stance to deal with economic downward pressures which were reflected somewhat in a mixed set of data from China that showed growth slowing (albeit better than expected) and retail sales notably disappointing.

  • China 4Q GDP Grows 4% Y/Y; Est. 3.3%, but notably below Q3's +4.9%

  • China Dec. Industrial Output Rises 4.3% Y/Y; Est. 3.7%

  • China Jan.-Dec. Fixed Investment Rises 4.9% Y/Y; Est. 4.8%

  • China Jan.-Dec. GDP Grows 8.1% Y/Y; Est. 8%

  • China End-Dec. Survey Jobless Rate Rises to 5.1% vs 5.0% Prior

  • China Dec. Retail Sales Rise 1.7% Y/Y; Est. 3.8%

As is clear in the chart below, all of the key macro measures worsened...

As Bloomberg's Enda Curran notes, the retail sales weakness looks broad based. There was a big decline in sales of household electronics and automobiles and also contraction for restaurant/catering, clothing, jewelry and furniture. Given the news through January regarding the virus outbreaks, one wonders if that can turn around materially in the near term. The annual new years holiday would be an obvious boost in other years, but less clear how it plays out this year.

On a seasonally adjusted month/month basis, China’s retail sales rose in just four months last year. Even during 2020’s pandemic impacts, there were five months of such sales growth.

On top of the big miss for retail sales, online shopping shows more worrying signs for the country’s weakening consumer demand. Online retail sales grew 14.1% in 2021, the slowest annual pace since 2014.

Chang Shu and David Qu, economists at Bloomberg Economics, say the bigger-than-expected cut to the one-year MLF rate shows it’s serious about supporting the economy.

We give the final words to Peiqian Liu, an economist at NatWest Markets:

This is a decisive dovish tilt as the policymakers acknowledged the importance to stabilize short term growth.

The rate cut may translate into a broad-based 10bps lower in 1Y and 5Y LPR on Thursday.

In terms of our outlook for monetary policy in 2022, we think the PBOC will unlikely resort to “flood-style stimulus” of consecutive and aggressive rate cuts. Instead, we see room for moderate easing with another 20bps rate cut and 100bps RRR cut for the rest of this year.

US equity futures extended their losses despite the MLF rate cut...

The stock market reaction to the PBOC’s interest rate cut is relatively muted because “the latest cut seems to be in line with the targeted pro-growth policy guidance for 2022 as highlighted by the key economic working group,” says Kelvin Wong, analyst at CMC Markets

One last thing of note, China’s stats folks say the country’s population was about 500,000 people more at year’s end than a year earlier (albeit a rounding error), but it signals that China hasn’t gotten to peak population just yet apparently.

So, as we pointed out in December, it is now clear that China is shifting to an easing mode as the rest of the world is shifting to a tightening cycle.

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 21:28

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