Commodity Calls: Week Ending 24 May 2024

Copper smelters fight for scraps, China buys the dip on cobalt, and OPEC+ looks to extend production cuts on oil.

Join Global X each week for ‘Commodity Calls’ to explore all the recent signals and developments that occurred in the world of commodities.

Looking for more? Check out this week’s Market Moves and Thematic Spotlight.



  • China’s top copper smelters maintained near-record level production in April, refining 1.13 million tonnes in the month. Proposed production cuts pledged by major Chinese smelters in March have failed to materialise, defying global concerns of raw copper shortages.1


  • As copper concentrate prices soar, fabricators are slowly turning to copper scrap as a substitute. The availability of scrap metal has risen dramatically over the past few months. Copper scrap now trades at a US$637 discount to refined copper, the widest gap in at least eight years.2
  • Hawkish Fed statements, strong services and manufacturing PMIs, positive consumer sentiment, and better-than-expected unemployment figures have reduced incentives for Fed rate cuts in 2024. For the first time YTD, markets expect only one Fed rate cut by the end of the calendar year.3

Explore copper with WIRE.

Transition Metals


  • The Chinese National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration is planning to purchase up to 15,000 tonnes of refined cobalt.4 The critical transition metal currently sits at its lowest price in almost five years and the agency looks to be capitalising on the discount. The transaction will mark the agency’s biggest ever purchase of cobalt, almost doubling its 2023 purchase of 8,700 tonnes.5
  • Nickel prices have rallied more than 25% YTD as riots erupted across New Caledonia due to changes in voting rules.6 The unrest has disrupted output from miners across the archipelago, which currently stands as the third largest producer of nickel in the world.7 This, in combination with previously depressed output due to weak EV demand, has caused significant supply weakness.


  • Global EV battery installations during Q1 2024 rose by 22% compared to a year earlier, a notable slowdown from the 36% growth seen in 2023.8 Top battery manufacturers such as South Korea’s LG Energy Solutions and SK On have also seen factory utilisation rates fall dramatically, down from 77.7% and 96.1% to 57.4% and 69.5% respectively.9

Explore transition metals with GMTL.

Crude Oil


  • The OPEC+ will hold its twice-a-year policy meeting this Sunday.10Markets widely expect prolonged production cuts well into the second half of 2024 as the oil producing cohort looks to combat sliding prices.


  • Diminishing rate cut odds from the US Fed is causing weakness in the crude oil price. After a slew of strong economic data points and hawkish Fed statements, markets now expect only one Fed rate cut by the end of 2024.11

Explore crude oil with BCOM.


Forecasts are not guaranteed and undue reliance should not be placed on them. This information is based on views held by Global X as at 28/05/2024. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. Diversification does not ensure a profit nor guarantee against a loss.

Brokerage commissions will reduce returns.

This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. This information is not intended to be individual or personalised investment or tax advice and should not be used for trading purposes. Please consult a financial advisor or tax professional for more information regarding your investment and/or tax situation.