Last year, as the debate between the inflationists and the deflationist was raging, I stepped in with a little empirical research. I try not to make predictions and prognostications, but rather stick to being prepared for the most likely events. I stated that if I had to pick a scenario, the most likely as I was would be stagflation wherein high input costs would co-exist with a deflationary drop in asset values, creating a "worst of both worlds" style environment. Well, Alcoa has given us some anecdotal evidence of the likelihood of such an occurrence approaching.
Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, reported fourth-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ estimates as the company faced higher energy and currency costs...
Profit was hurt by higher energy prices and the dollar’s decline against the euro and the Brazilian real, Deutsche Bank AG analyst Jorge Beristain said...
“This quarter was disappointing, especially with the energy costs, and having to buy primary aluminum on the open market,” said John Stephenson, who helps manage C$1.5 billion ($1.45 billion) including Alcoa shares at First Asset Investment Management in Toronto. The miss on earnings was “significant,” he said.
Alcoa’s sales benefited from aluminum prices that rose 18 percent in the quarter to $2,230 a ton on the London Metal Exchange. The price Alcoa charged customers for the metal increased 9.3 percent from the previous quarter, the company said. Revenue exceeded the average estimate of $4.84 billion in the Bloomberg survey.
“They are benefiting partially from higher aluminum prices, but the cost honeymoon the company has had for the past nine months is rapidly drawing to a close,” Beristain said in a Jan. 5 interview. “Some input variables are starting to move against them as foreign currencies strengthen against the dollar.”
Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld cut about 21,500 jobs from June 2008 through December 2009 as the deteriorating global economy reduced demand for aluminum. In March, he pledged to eliminate $2.4 billion in annual costs for items from raw materials to transportation, and had completed 83 percent of that goal by the end of the third quarter.
Copper futures for March delivery climbed to $3.441 a pound in New York. Shipments of copper and copper products into China rose to about 369,400 metric tons in December, the Customs General Administration said yesterday in Beijing. That was up 27 percent from November and 29 percent from a year earlier, according to Bloomberg data. Record imports in last year’s first half helped copper prices more than double in 2009.
Economic contractions AND rising prices, dare Reggie utter the "I" word - Enter a global phenomenon Roadmap to the crisis. Before we go on with this installment let's get a firming of the definition of the term "inflation" with a little help from Wikipedia: Inflation can be considered a general ... Monday, 03 November 2008Reggie Middleton's Take on Investing for Inflation, pt. 1 I have looked into potential inflation hedges/speculative trades and decided to share some of my thoughts with the blog. Despite the rumblings of many, there are already signs of inflat
Reggie Middleton's Take on Investing for Inflation, pt. 3 The Performance of Inflation Correlated Assets: Reggie Middleton's Opinion This is part 3 of my thoughts on investing in inflationary times (see Reggie Middleton's Take on Investing for Inflation.. Friday, 12 June 2009
Disclosure: short hsbc