Talk to a lot of people about the business pages of a newspaper and they\’ll tell you they don\’t understand all that stuff, that it\’s all gobbledygook. That they can\’t quite get a handle on it (and, no, they haven\’t really tried).
It\’s a dangerous view and not merely for the obvious reasons of pensions, mortgage security and the like. There\’s also a quieter danger – it helps breed a certain superiority in the City, a feeling that no one really gets it and when the public does complain it\’s just a populist backlash.
OK, that bit\’s true. But it would help if someone writing those business pages actually understood the matters he was writing about.
Now we\’ve got BMW pointing out that banks have cornered 70pc of the aluminium market. They\’re buying the metal, selling it forward at higher prices and storing it on the cheap in the interim, or so the car maker claims.
No, that\’s not the allegation at all. In Mr. Silburn\’s own newspaper this morning we get this:
Frank Wienstroth, a spokesman for BMW on purchasing, suppliers and logistics, said he was \”aware\” of talk that financing deals had tied up more than 70pc of aluminium stocks in London Metals Exchange (LME) warehouses and this had led to \”limited availability\” of aluminium for BMW.
It\’s 70% of LME stocks. Not 70% of the aluminium market. The difference between these two? LME stocks are just under the 5 million tonnes mark. Primary production of aluminium (we don\’t, for complex technological reasons, recycle aluminium to pure aluminium very much, rather, that goes into aluminium alloys) is some 40 million tonnes a year.
So the banks, those naughty financiers, have claims over some 8.5% of the global aluminium market then. Twat.