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Morning View - Adriatic Metals, Intelligent Ultrasound and others

Adriatic Metals* (LON/LADT1) – Status of Bosnian exploration programme SP Angel Healthcare analysts: Amgen and Adaptive Biotechnologies partner to develop a  COVID-19 therapy Intelligent Ultrasound (LON:MED): Installation of ultrasound simulator at NHS Nightingale ExCel Hospital 

Nickel - T

Adriatic Metals* (LON:LADT1) – Status of Bosnian exploration programme

SP Angel Healthcare analysts:

Amgen and Adaptive Biotechnologies partner to develop a  COVID-19 therapy

Intelligent Ultrasound (LON:MED): Installation of ultrasound simulator at NHS Nightingale ExCel Hospital 

 

Emerging markets – unprepared and unable to manage coronavirus

Chaotic scenes in India and other emerging markets indicate a lack of scientific newsflow and education in poorer parts of the world.

Inadequate local healthcare will not manage with even a fraction of the victims of COVID-19.

The coronavirus crisis will likely cause great distress, disruption and disturbance as survivors turn their attention on officials.

 

Expect stimulus measures to be used accelerate auto purchases as Lock-down restrictions ease

Governments will be looking to restart economies and shift unsold inventories as Lockdown restrictions are lifted.

We also expect Lock-down restrictions to be reinstated in varying forms through the year to help slow and manage infection rates.

Demand will return slowly as nations return to work with stimulus measures required to restart economic growth

 

Airbus looking at significant cuts to production as supply chains break down (Reuters)

 

Toyota planning on Li-ion battery production capacity 60GWh by end-2025, sufficient for 1m EVs

Average battery pack size estimated at 55kWh.

 

Nissan Vietnam to close factory on coronavirus lockdown

Many auto manufacturers have been forced to close due to supply chain and logistical issues

Collapsing auto sales is also a major problem for automotive manufacturers

 

World’s global sunscreen depleted by lack of flights – not a joke

The Coronavirus has grounded much of the world’s aircraft.

The unintended consequence of this is to remove the pollution caused by jet engines in the upper atmosphere.

Jet fuel pollution creates a form of global sunscreen which reflects sunlight into space and reduces the sun’s intensity.

This is particularly helpful in the Southern Hemisphere which still suffers from a thinning of the ‘ozone layer’.

We suspect forest fires in Australia and California alongside the volcanic eruption at Taal will have replenished some atmospheric dust.

See NASA link for evidence: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/aerosol_dimming.html

 

Mining sector interview:  https://youtu.be/bUUyiD3LJjc

 

Brazilian mining regulator orders closure of 25 Vale tailings dams

The ANM announced yesterday that it would halt operations at 47 mining dams that have failed to certify their stability, including 25 which belong to Vale.

Last year, 54 dams failed to certify their stability or file the stability paperwork. Many of the same dams remain on the list and several new dams operated by Vale were added (Reuters).

The danger posed by Vale's unsafe tailings dams has hampered iron ore production. Vale announced earlier this week that its Brucutu operation has been operating at about 40% capacity due to dam restrictions (Mining Magazine).

 

Dow Jones Industrials

+2.24%

at

21,413

Nikkei 225

+0.01%

at

17,820

HK Hang Seng

-0.59%

at

23,143

Shanghai Composite

-0.60%

at

2,764

 

Economics

OPEC+ meeting is planned for April 6 to be held as a video conference, the RIA news agency cited Azerbaijan’s energy ministry.

Oil prices climbed on the back of the news of a resumption of discussions between major producers.

 

US – The scale of the economic disruption brought bough the coronavirus is growing with jobless claims nearly doubling from the previous week.

Stay at home guidelines enacted in many states saw more than 6.6 million people filing for unemployment benefits, up from an all time high of 3.3m in the prior week.

Market estimates were for a 3.8m reading.

Mar non farm payrolls are out later today with market estimates for -100k, the first negative reading since 2010.

NFPs dropped as low as -800k at the height of the GFC in the US in 2009.

 

China – The PBoC will cut the reserve requirement ratio for smaller banks by 1pp from 10.5% that is estimated to make CNY 400bnn available in additional liquidity.

Although the central bank remains reluctant to cut the deposit rate while continuing to monitor the situation.

“The deposit rate is more relevant to the public, and we need to thoroughly evaluate and think about their feeling if the rate is negative,” Deputy Governor Liu Guoqiang said.

Liu was referring to real rates that are currently below zero, Bloomberg reports.  

 

Japan – The government is planning to give out ¥300k (~$2,700) to each virus-hit households as part of its biggest-ever stimulus package, according to Bloomberg.

The measure is part of the ¥60t stimulus unveiled earlier directed at supporting households and businesses hit by the virus outbreak.

Funds will be allocated on the basis of households averaging 2.27 people in size.

 

Eurozone economic activity recorded the strongest decline on record in March with final PMIs pointing to sharper falls than initially estimated.

Readings in Germany, France, Spain and Italy dropped to survey lows.

Markit estimates suggest the Eurozone economy is contracting at 10% annualised rate “with worse inevitably to come in the near future”.

““The service sector is currently seeing an especially severe impact from the COVID-19 outbreak, with travel, tourism, restaurants and other leisure activities all hit hard by virus containment measures,” Market commented on the data.

“While employment is not yet falling as fast as seen during the financial crisis, the coming months will no doubt see jobless numbers rise sharply, even as governments across the eurozone seek to limit these.”

Markit Composite PMI: 29.7 v 51.6 in Feb and 31.4 flash reading.

 

Japan – expected to Declare State Of Emergency Any Day

 

UK – Services PMI fell to 34.5 from 35.7 flash reading in March taking the Composite index down to 36.0 from 37.1 flash estimate and 53.0 recorded in February.

Latest PMI figures consistent with an over 1.5% qr/qr fall in GDP.

UK government sees Peak Of Cases in next few weeks, somewhat sooner than expected

UK construction sector activity slows dramatically in last week of March

Data shows UK construction machinery use slowed dramatically in the last week of March.

The figures tally with stricter compliance and enforcement of the UK government Lockdown.

Major infrastructure development and maintenance continues.

Work continues on essential projects as the Public Health England ‘PHE’ guidelines are Interpreted.

House building has paused due to supply chain issues.

Officials are working to keep construction projects going within the PHE guidelines despite some confusion on recent  guidance

 

Italy – Services sector activity collapse in March with the PMI plunging to 17.4, the weakest reading on record.

Services carry the full disruption effect of the pandemic as the nationwide went on a full lockdown in early March with all non-essential economic activity shut down.

PM Giuseppe Conte extended the measures until April 13.

Importantly, Markit highlights weak outlook and suggests the “the sheer scale of the impact on output , employment and investment likely to be felt for a long time to come”.

Markit Manufacturing PMI: 40.3 v 48.7 in Feb and 41.0 est.

Markit Services PMI: 17.4 v 52.1 in Feb and 22.5 est.

Markit Composite PMI: 20.2 v 50.7 in Feb and 25.0 est.

 

Spain – Similar to Italy, services sector recorded the sharpest contraction on record in March being hit harder than the manufacturing segment.

Job losses increased to the highest level since the financial crisis in 2008/09 and sentiment dropped to survey record low.

“At this juncture, trying to put a number on the scale and duration of the pandemic in terms of falls in GDP and employment is extremely challenging, but on balance there is a high probability that the severity of the downturn in the second quarter will exceed anything we saw during the great recession of 2008/2009,” Markit wrote.

Markit Manufacturing PMI: 45.7 v 50.4 in Feb and 44.0 est.

Markit Services PMI: 23.0 v 52.1 in Feb and 25.8 est.

Markit Composite PMI: 26.7 v 51.8 in Feb and 30.8 est.

 

Australia – reckons coronavirus infections may be >10m around the world

Australia’s chief medical officer reckons the number of infections could be 10x higher as official, confirmed, infections rose to >1m.

We have heard this 10x estimate so often from so many experts we are beginning to think this is true.

A lack of sufficient, suitable and reliable coronavirus test kits is bound to lead to underreporting as mild cases which do not go to hospital are largely unrecorded. Australia has ~5,300 cases with 28 deaths.

 

Singapore – PM announces 1-month shutdown with only essential services and key economic sectors operating

 

US – Florida citizens ordered to stay at home

Florida is expected to suffer increased mortality due to the average age of the Florida population.

 

Philippines - The lockdown of the Philippines’ main island should be extended but gradually eased to restart parts of the economy (Bloomberg)

 

Germany - 1,017 total deaths from COVID-19 today as confirmed cases rise to 79,696 reported today

 

Fatalities year-to-date:

51,583 - Coronavirus

123,616 - Seasonal flu

249,388 - Malaria

272,643 - Suicides

343,210 - Road accidents

427,410 - HIV/AIDS

635,935D - Alcohol

1,271,071 - Smoking

2,088,248 - Cancer

3,300,000 - Communicable diseases

Stats from Worldometers.info

 

Currencies

US$1.0804/eur vs 1.0935/eur yesterday.  Yen 108.07/$ vs 107.22/$.  SAr 18.755/$ vs 18.153/$.  $1.234/gbp vs $1.241/gbp.  0.604/aud vs 0.610/aud.  CNY 7.090/$ vs 7.106/$.

Commodity News

Gold US$1,610/oz vs US$1,597/oz yesterday - Higher gold prices likely on inflation, reduced mine output and strong physical demand

The strength of the US dollar may serve to limit the rise in US-dollar gold prices as the dollar shows its worth as a safe-haven currency.

Gold is being used in Covid-19 tests

In a World Gold Council blog post, an expert explained how tiny spherical particles of gold have been used as 'indicators' in lateral flow assays (LFAs) for over 40 years.

Gold is used to identify the presence of biomarkers from the body's immune response to Covid-19 instead of looking for the virus itself.

Gold-based LFA tests have been used in significant numbers in South Korea and China, and now increasingly in Europe (Mining Weekly).

   Gold ETFs 90.8moz vs US$90.7moz yesterday

Platinum US$723/oz vs US$733/oz yesterday

Palladium US$2,224/oz vs US$2,344/oz yesterday

Silver US$14.46/oz vs US$14.25/oz yesterday

 

Base metals:   

Copper prices rise as market looks forward towards recovery as coronavirus sweeps the world

Shanghai warehouse copper stocks fall across the board as China restocks and ramps up production

On warrant stock cancellations also suggests material is less available to the market as companies get back to work

Copper inventories fell 8.7% to 332,435t

Aluminium -1.2% to 521,830t

Zinc -1.2% to 158,139t

Lead -38.0% to 8,656t

Nickel -1.5% to 28,228t

Tin -4.6% 4,233t

LME stock movements:

Copper -0.6% to 219925t

Aluminium -0.2% to 1210475

Tin +24% rise to 6,100t

Lead and nickel inventories unchanged

 

Copper US$ 4,910/t vs US$4,853/t yesterday - Copper on track for first weekly gain in six weeks

Copper on the LME is on track for its first weekly gain in six weeks, although demand outlook for the metal remains uncertain

Three-month copper on the LME rose 0.4% this morning to $4,917/t (Reuters).

Despite demand concerns driven by the pandemic, better than expected factory data from China and supply disruptions at copper mines have helped prices this week.

Aluminium US$ 1,493/t vs US$1,494/t yesterday

Nickel US$ 11,300/t vs US$11,300/t yesterday

Zinc US$ 1,887/t vs US$1,880/t yesterday

Lead US$ 1,696/t vs US$1,707/t yesterday

Tin US$ 14,355/t vs US$14,375/t yesterday

           

Energy:           

Oil US$30.0/bbl vs US$25.4/bbl yesterday

Global oil prices rebounded to over US$30/bbl for the first time in almost a month on Thursday after Saudi Arabia and Russia signalled a possible truce in a price war that has triggered the fastest oil market collapse in decades

The price of Brent crude increased 30% after the US president ramped up hopes of a new deal between Riyadh and Moscow to help stabilise the oil market • In further support, Saudi Arabia said it would call an emergency meeting of OPEC to discuss new measures • However, hopes of renewed cooperation in the oil market were later dampened by a spokesman for the Russian president who reportedly told journalists that “no one has started talking about any specific or even abstract deals” • MSCI's Asia-Pacific index outside Japan dipped 0.15% while Japan's Nikkei rose 0.3%, helped by overnight gains in Wall Street shares. On Thursday, the S&P 500 gained 2.3%.

Natural Gas US$1.568/mmbtu vs US$1.633/mmbtu yesterday

Natural gas prices moved lower yesterday, declining slightly more than 2% following a smaller than expected draw in natural gas inventories

The weather is expected to be warmer than normal in the US for the next 6-10 and 8-14 days according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration

Oil prices rebounded on Thursday as oil executives in the US appear to be having conversations with Saudi Arabia on a potential global cut in oil output

 

Uranium US$27.35/lb vs US$27.05/lb yesterday

           

Bulk:   

Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$79.3/t vs US$77.9/t

Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$519.9/t vs US$517.2/t - European steel sector hardest hit by coronavirus pandemic

While many Chinese factories are ramping up production, European factory activity continues to fall as the virus pandemic worsens.

Europe is struggling as steel demand and company margins were fragile prior to the pandemic. Last year was a pretty bad year for Europe's steelmakers and cash reserves have been depleted over the past six months (CRU).

While steel output has continued to rise year-on-year so far in 2020, the outlook is due to shift in the short term due to disruption caused by the coronavirus.

In Europe, blast furnaces with a total annual capacity of 19mt have already shut and others are at reduced capacity.

European steelmakers will have a greater problem in balancing the collapse in demand as it is not easy to turn off blast furnaces, which account for nearly 60% of EU steel output (Reuters).

Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$54.5/t vs US$54.3/t

Coking coal swap Australia FOB US$144.0/t vs US$144.0/t

           

Other:  

Cobalt LME 3m US$30,000/t vs US$30,000/t

NdPr Rare Earth Oxide (China) US$37,379/t vs US$37,575/t

Lithium carbonate 99% (China) US$5,572/t vs US$5,629/t

Ferro Vanadium 80% FOB (China) US$26.5/kg vs US$26.5/kg

Antimony Trioxide 99.5% EU (China) US$5.1/kg vs US$5.1/kg

Tungsten APT European US$240-245/mtu vs US$240-245/mtu

Graphite flake 94% C, -100 mesh, fob China US$540/t vs US$540/t

Graphite spherical 99.95% C, 15 microns, fob China US$2,550/t vs US$2,550/t

 

Battery News

Tesla beats expectations on Q1 delivery numbers

Tesla reported delivering 88,400 vehicles in Q1 ahead of analyst expectations of 79,900 deliveries. (Telegraph)

The Company delivered 76,200 Models 3 and Model Y vehicles and 12,200 Model S and X vehicles. (CNBC)

Tesla referred to these numbers as their best ever Q1 performance. Deliveries were down 20% on the previous quarter but up 40% on the same quarter last year. Q1 is often affected by seasonality and 2020 has seen the COVID-19 pandemic make it even more difficult. (Yahoo)

Analyst estimates adjusted for the impact of COVID-19, which forced Tesla to temporarily suspend production at several facilities. 

Tesla’s share price rose 17% on the news.

 

SungEel MCC Americas granted permit to build lithium-ion battery recycling facility in New York state

New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has granted SungEel an air state facility permit and solid waste management facility registration. (Recycling Today)

JV partner SungEel HiTech operates a similar facility in South Korea.

The proposed lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Endicott would be the first of its kind in the US.

The permit allows construction and operation of the plant and receiving it is clearance of a major hurdle for the project. (pressconnects.)

The DEC has imposed some conditions on the permit but has concluded that the project will not be a major source of regulated air pollutants.

 

Farasis Energy (China) looking to raise $479m in IPO

Farasis Energy has received regulatory approval to raise 3.4b yuan ($479) in IPO on China’s STAR board. (Autonews)

The Company is expected to be valued at around 30 billion yuan after IPO.

The Chinese EV makers primary product is their nickel-cobalt-manganese batteries for EVs. (Economic Times)

The raise would be the largest by any company that has received regulatory approval to list on the STAR board.

Farasis customers include BAIC Blue Park and Great Wall Motors. The Company is also building a factory in Germany to help Mercedes-Benz ramp production of its EVs.

 

Evergrande Group to invest a futher 20 billion yuan into EV

Leading Chinese property developer Evergrande Group is looking to pump 20 billion yuan ($2.8bn) to push forward its fledgling EV business in the coming 2yrs. (Automotive News China)

This is the not the first significant investment the group has made in its EV program, the Company announced a $23bn investment in the production of 1 million EVs in June 2019. (Electrek)

The EV business has been sustaining losses of 3.2bn in 2019 and 1.7bn yuan in 2018.


Company News

Adriatic Metals* (ADT1 LN) 50.65p, Mkt Cap £91m – Status of Bosnian exploration programme

Adriatic Metals has provided information on the progress of its 20,000m drilling programme in the Rupice and Jurasevac-Brestic area of Bosnia and a commentary on the impact of measures to restrict the spread of the Covid19 infection.

Outlining the local position regarding the Covid19 virus, the company says that ʺAs at 2 April Bosnia & Herzegovina has approximately 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 29 are in Zenica-Doboj Canton, but no cases have been reported in Vares Municipalityʺ.

The company reports that it has five rigs deployed and although the arrival of a sixth machine has been delayed by restrictions at the Bosnian/Serbian border, ʺexploration activity is continuing unaffected, with supplies being delivered on time, and core sample exports to Bor in Serbia being only slightly delayed by border restrictionsʺ.

To date some 2,800m of drilling, in 10 holes, has been completed and exploration drilling activity is proceeding on a 24 hours per day basis following approval of its exemption from the 8pm to 5am curfew generally in force.

The company recently received approval for a further 29 drill pads ʺfor an increase in exploration activity over the spring and summer months.ʺ

Currently no assay results are yet available from the drilling completed so far ʺbut we have been advised that no delays are expected by ALS, our metallurgical assay provider in Serbiaʺ.

Metallurgical test-work currently underway is described as ʺlargely unaffected by the current crisisʺ and the company advises that work on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, which was to have been conducted by foreign-based consultants is being undertaken ʺby local resources under the guidance of our international consultants, with no resulting impact on the quality of work.ʺ

Although assay results are still pending, the results from the drilling campaign have extended the known extent of the mineralised envelope and as a result, it has been decided to consider a deferral of the Pre-Feasibility Study ʺto allow additional drilling to be incorporated into an updated mineral resource estimate, which will be utilised for the PFS. This is not as a result of any delays in PFS work streams, which are all progressing as planned, or any COVID-19 related issues.ʺ

On the permitting front, Adriatic Metals expects to be awarded the final Environmental permit ʺimminentlyʺ which will allow the submission of ʺthe Urban Planning Application and schedule a public hearing for the approval of the Exploitation Permit. Under the State of Emergency implemented by the Bosnian Government recently, such a public hearing would not be permitted, and we are seeking guidance from the Federal Ministry as to whether such a hearing could be done via webcastʺ.

The company explains that delays to the public hearing ʺwill result in delays to the issue of the Exploitation Permit but are unlikely to affect the critical path for project deliveryʺ.

The company remains well funded with a 31st December 2019 cash balance of A$26.3m.

Conclusion: Exploration in Bosnia is continuing with minimal disruption due to the Covid19 virus. Recent drilling has expanded the known extent of the mineralised envelope which may lead to a deferral in the PFS in order to include the new results in an updated mineral resource estimate. We look forward to further news as assays arrive and to the updated resource estimate.

*An SP Angel mining analyst has visited Adriatic Metals operations in Bosnia

SP Angel Healthcare team - Vadim Alexandre, Liam Gascoigne-Cohen

Amgen and Adaptive Biotechnologies partner to develop a  COVID-19 therapy

US biotech, Amgen (AMGN.NQ) announced a collaboration with immunity specialist start-up, Adaptive Biotechnologies (ADPT.NQ), to develop a treatment against COVID-19.

The collaboration aims to develop a neutralising antibody therapy which targets SARS-CoV-2, the causative virus of COVID-19.

Neutralising antibodies are immune proteins which can target a virus and interfere with a function, such as binding to a host cell, to reduce infectivity. 

The project aims to screen blood samples from COVID-19 survivors and identify antibodies which bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Although Amgen is not known for its antiviral expertise, the Group has significant experience in antibody engineering and manufacturing, whilst Adaptive will use their expertise in screening the immune system to identify virus-neutralising antibody candidates. The partners are not the first to start developing this form of therapy, US drug developer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals inc., has isolated multiple virus-neutralising antibodies with the aim to develop an antibody therapy which binds to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

Intelligent Ultrasound (MED.L): Installation of ultrasound simulator at NHS Nightingale ExCel Hospital 

Share price: 9.8p; Market Capitalisation: £21.4m

Intelligent Ultrasound, the ultrasound software and simulation company, announced that its BodyWorks Point-of-Care Ultrasound Simulator has been made available at the NHS Nightingale Hospital in London's ExCel centre.

The BodyWorks training simulator aims to help clinicians learn and practice lung ultrasound skills and has been set up in the emergency simulation centre within the new hospital.

As well as in NHS Nightingale, the Group has installed the recently developed COVID-19 module in 30 training simulators. 

Lung ultrasound imaging is a low-cost tool which can be used to monitor respiratory symptoms at the patient’s bedside rather than in an imaging suite as is the case for X-Ray or CT. With the current pandemic resulting in a growing demand for clinicians with skillsets in respiratory disease management, the Group's simulator module can train healthcare professionals in lung ultrasound to help meet this need. 

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