Many regard the October Party Congress as critical meeting of the CCP where will we see the new politburo unveiled. Most importantly is the appointment of Xi Ji Ping for his 3rd term as party general secretary. But the big question people are asking is will China announce a relaxation of its Zero Covid policy after the meeting?
Analysts are finding it impossible to forecast global metals demand not knowing what policy changes may lie ahead. Chinese oil refineries are perhaps an indication of sentiment – they have been gradually increasing output from around 75% of capacity this summer to around 80% for Q4. Are they expecting an uptick in overall activity, or are they just taking advantage of strong export demand?
There are clear economic headwinds in China – the ailing property market, high savings rates and inflation. Much of this can be unlocked by a relaxation of the Zero Covid rules. But when will this happen? Some are now saying we will need to wait until after the National People’s Congress in March 2023. If this is the case, it would put a major dampener on metals demand and prices.