5 things you need to know before markets open in Australia and around the world.

Mondays were given to us to as punishment for the stuff we did on the weekends.

Good morning. Here’s what you need to know for this coming week.

1. Rumours are rife that there might be a global trade war getting started. Certainly, President Trump seems to be pushing for one. He’s guaranteed to punish China for currency manipulation and for dumping cheap products into the US market. He hired Peter Navarro, who wrote the book Death by China, as the new head of the National Trade Council. He wants to impose a 45% tariff on all Chinese goods! Beijing is not happy!
Does that mean another financial crisis with banks going under, high unemployment and stock crashes? The planet has been through that a couple of times already. Some investors lose and astute ones come through it better than ever. Why is that? People who don’t protect themselves risk losing everything but by taking a few simple steps to protect yourself, well, those people will benefit from a big wealth shift.

2. Gold has been edging ever upwards over the past couple of weeks and seems well-positioned to continue gaining. But what about platinum? At just $950 an ounce you would have to say that’s a high discount to gold. Is this precious metal under-valued?
The World Platinum Council says that 2017 will be the 6th consecutive year that there will be a platinum shortage so higher prices seem almost a certainty. With deficits predicted out to 2020, we will soon see if platinum is under-priced.

3. We can’t keep lithium out of the news. Lithium Australia has extended its activities into Europe, namely Germany. It has teamed up with Deutsche Rohstoff, which is the parent company of Tin International. Their main asset is the lithium-rich mica mine, Sadisdorf Tin, meaning that the Sileach extraction process is just right for this orebody. Now there’s a fly in-fly out shift nobody would complain about!

4. Not only is it difficult to say, but it’s a bit tricky to spell – dysprosium. The Chinese company Guangdong Rising Asset Management, already a big player in Australian mining, spent $60 million in backing Northern Minerals start up project at Browns Range heavy rare earths pilot plant near Halls Creek, WA. The question is: what is dysprosium? It’s No. 66 on the Periodic Table with the symbol Dy. The element is used in absorbing neutrons from nuclear reactors. Special stainless steels and use in laser materials are other applications.

5. Events around the world have direct impact on money, investment and finance in general. The war in Syria, as bad as it gets there, and due to its never-ending presence, can become background noise. However, the US missile attack, in retaliation against the use of chemicals against civilians, caused a shock wave in stock markets that had investors a little nervous about just where all this is heading. Gold and oil remain the standby investments when all else looks like it might collapse. It’s important to use due diligence when making investments in times of uncertainty.

Answers to the quiz from last week

Question 3.
Answer: C Bituminous coal
Coal is classified by the amount of water and carbon it contains.

At the low end of the scale is brown coal, or lignite. This type of coal has a high water (between 30 – 70 per cent) and low carbon content (60 – 75 per cent). Australia has the world’s largest deposits of brown coal, but because of its low energy output these deposits, located in Victoria, are used only for local power generation. It is not suitable for export.

Sub-bituminous coal, a soft black coal, also has high water (up to 10 per cent) and low carbon content (71 – 77 per cent) and is used for power generation.

Bituminous coal, a hard black coal, contains very little water (1.5 to 7 per cent) and a lot of carbon (78 to 91 per cent). Bituminous coal is classified into two types: thermal coal, which is used in electricity generation, and metallurgical — or coking — coal, used in the production of steel. Most export quality bituminous coal comes from Queensland (56 per cent) and New South Wales (40 per cent).

Anthracite is the hardest type of black coal with between 92 – 98 per cent carbon. It is used as a heating fuel.

Question 4
Answer: C Diamonds
Diamonds are made out of carbon that has been compressed by high pressure under high temperatures deep within the Earth’s mantle. They are brought to the Earth’s surface by magma from volcanic eruptions. The magma cools to form pipes of igneous rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites.

Australia is the world’s fifth largest producer of gem-quality and industrial diamonds. Most diamonds are mined at the Argyle mine in Western Australia.

(Thanks to ABC Science for the info)

Andrew Mortimer
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