Robin Bromby

About Robin Bromby

Robin Bromby is a journalist, author and sometime publisher who has had titles issued by mainstream publishers, including Doubleday, Simon & Schuster and Lothian Books. Robin began as a cadet journalist in 1962 with The Dominion, the morning paper in Wellington, New Zealand. He also worked for the NZ Broadcasting Corporation, TV1, the South China Morning Post, The Herald (Melbourne), the Sunday Times (Wellington), The National Times (Sydney) and, since 1988, he has been first a staff reporter and now columnist for The Australian and has been a Senior Editor for InvestorIntel since the onset.

Forget the market gloom — the trend favours technology (and technology metals)

Palm-reading Two weeks ago I posted an extract on the subject of the difference between cycles and trends. It is necessary to return to the subject, lest we start to lose sight of the situation with all the market mayhem and fear occurring right now. But here’s the good news: the cycle looks pretty terrible at present (all commodity cycles do at some stage) but the trend (for rare earths and technology metals) looks pretty good. Hold that latter thought: you will need its comfort in the coming months. The cycle looks pretty dreadful. On Monday at the London Metal Exchange…

There are good stories among the rare earth hopefuls

good-luck Thank goodness so many rare earth companies have stuck with their plans and decided to tough out during the hard times. We are going to need them, even if most investors at present refuse to acknowledge this. And there are some good stories out there. And thank goodness for InvestorIntel. One REE chief executive to whom I spoke earlier this year said he admired the way publisher Tracy Weslosky had stuck by the REE story even when it was seemingly at its bleakest. And, so I might add, have the readers of this website stuck by rare earths: posts about…

China disrupts rare earths, minor metals (again) — and where does it stand on gold attack?

mystery China is at the epicentre of two events in the past week. Neither of them is pretty to watch – and both have serious repercussions for several metals, particularly rare earths, technology metals and gold. Incident No. 1 (Minor metals and REE): Two years ago, there was founded in Kunming, Yunnan province, the Fanya Metal Exchange. It was a method for Chinese investors to take a bet on minor and rare metals, and rare earths: there were contracts for antimony, indium, germanium, selenium, cobalt, tungsten, silver, vanadium, tellurium, bismuth, rhodium and dysprosium and terbium oxides. For example, the exchange had…

Another analyst picks rising rare earth prices — and sees Arafura riding magnet element recovery

Making predictions about any commodity price is a challenging business these days, says Tony Parry of Sydney-based Resource Capital Research. But he is prepared to forecast that rare earth prices will rise in the next six to 12 months – and particularly for magnet feed elements praseodymium and neodymium. (His analysis follows similar optimism expressed two weeks ago by Capital Economics of London, as reported here on InvestorIntel). In a detail analyst report on Arafura Resources (ASX:ARU), Dr Parry does not underestimate the challenge the industry faces. For one, the massive price hikes in 2011 caused by the Chinese export…

Grigor says Talga and MRL are ‘catalysts for disruption in the graphene sector’

First he singled out Talga, now Warwick Grigor says he has found the other key player in the low cost graphene space. The Sydney-based resources analyst who runs Far East Capital made headlines in Australian newspapers earlier this year when he proclaimed that he was putting his money where his mouth was and investing a large chunk of his own cash into Talga Resources (ASX:TLG) because of its single-step graphene process. Now his has picked out another Australian company, MRL Corporation (ASX:MRF) and – again – invested his own money. He says there is room for both in an investor’s…

The view from Perth: battery makers will be the technology winners

KDKALogo On November 2, 1920 Pittsburg radio station KDKA — which claims on that day to have become the first licensed commercial station in the United States — broadcast the results of the presidential election between Warren G. Harding and James M. Cox. Only about 1,000 people listened to the radio broadcast. The station had made an arrangement with the morning daily, the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, to be supplied with the results as they came in during the evening. Those 1,000 people were the first in Pittsburg to learn that Harding had won: they did not have to wait for the thud…

Why commodities cycles inflict pain (as we are now feeling)

MIH_V1 InvestorIntel publisher Tracy Weslosky asked some pertinent questions on my posting Tuesday about low prices not, in the long term, affecting the validity of technology metals stories. In the 24 hours since I wrote that piece, we have seen the Chinese markets tumble further with 51% of A-shares in Shanghai and Shenzhen suspending themselves to avoid the carnage (boy, if only American stocks had had that option in October 1929). Then the base metals took more hits. Get this: in one session (Tuesday) on the London Metal Exchange nickel lost $1,050 a tonne. In one session! Things don't look too…

Low prices don’t undermine technology metals stories

It feels like déjà vu all over again. Back when rare earth prices began to start their (long, as it turned out) decline in 2012, I argued that startled investors should take into account the general commodity cycle that was then also going off the boil. True, other factors were to intervene so far as rare earths were concerned but, while you clearly could not quantify it, there seemed little doubt that a general downturn in demand for industrial metals (with consequent price declines) affected the rare earths business, too. We can't separate REE or any other technology material from…

Rare earth price falls: they are temporary, says analyst

Dysprosium Prices for neodymium and dysprosium have each fallen by about 30% since May 1. InvestorIntel reader Jeff Thompson a few days ago posted a question asking why Chinese rare earth prices had slumped so greatly. Well, Melanie Debono has an answer: the removal by China of its export tariffs which, so far as REE (rare earth elements) are concerned, has had a far greater effect on prices than the elimination of the quotas. Two weeks ago, Debono, of Capital Economics in London, issued her initiating report on rare earths, saying that Capital expected “the prices of most REE to post…

Japan still deadly serious about finding own sources of technology metals

Remember the much-promoted story (2010 through 2013) about all the rare earths and other metals Japan had discovered beneath the seabed? Not much has been heard about that in recent months – which is not surprising given that it is widely believed Japanese manufacturers are obtaining regular REE (rare earth elements)supplies from illegal miners and exporters based in China; moreover, Japanese sources were reporting earlier this month that neodymium was trading at about $66 per kilogram, down more than 20% since April, and back at a price level last seen in 2010 before the great REE surge took place. The…