Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Minerals in the world economy 1989
Year 1989, Volume 3 (1989)
Kimbell, Charles L.; Zajac, William L.
Minerals in the world economy, pp. 1-52 PDF (8.7 MB)
MINERALS IN THE WORLD ECONOMY—1989 1MINERALS IN THE WORLD ECONOMY By Charles L. Kimbell and William L. Zajac INTRODUCTION This study is intended to serve three roles. First, it is an extension of the previous works under the same title that have been the overview and summary chapter of the international volume of Minerals Yearbook since the inception of that volume. Following the traditional format of past chapters, the basic statistical presentations herein deal chiefly with 1989, and in some instances with 1988, the latter only because more recent, comprehensive global statistics for 1989 are simpiy not yet available owing to delayed data collection and processingin some countries and continued governmental suppression of data in others. The second role of this study is to provide an update to the coverage of events impacting on the world's mineral industry that have occurred between the end of 1989 and the preparation of this study. Inclusion ofthis update is almost essential because ofthe potential effect of some of these events on global mineral industry activities. Finally, this study, in parallel with the regional volumes that it summarizes and complements, includes limited materials on the short-term outlook for the world's mineral industry, at least insofar as the impact of events covered in the update can be examined. For simplification of outline, the update through 1990 and outlook appear as a single section with regional subdivisions, and follow the 1989 review. This format has been adopted because most of the noteworthy events are regional in nature and most seem destined to have their greatest impact on the specific regions rather than on the world as a whole. 1989 SUMMARY In overview, the world's mineral indus try in 1989 registered gains over its 1988 performance, but these gains were by no means as pronounced as had been those of 1988. The traditional statistical measures of mineral industry performance, namely production, trade, and consumption levels, reflected significant growth in most industry sectorsfrom crude material extraction through the gamut of downstream processing. Growth in market economy countries generally exceeded growth in the centrally planned economy countries as a result of a variety of causes that will be covered subsequently, but even among the centrally planned countries there were some upturns. In contrast to these measures of the soundness of the industry, the situation for nonfuel mineral and metal prices wasless satisfactory than in 1988, andlow crude oil prices continued as a problem for the all-important petroleum sector, despite some gains during the year. The oil price situation mitigated against price increases for competitive fuels. Although this was unfavorable for fuel producers, it remained advantageous to consumers, including nonfuel mineral producers, processors, and transporters. Thus it cannot be viewed as a negative factor for the whole ofthe global mineral industry. Global crude mineral output value was estimated at nearly $1,420 billion in current dollars, an increase of 9% over the 1988 level, and an increase in current dollar terms for the seventh consecutive year. Measured in terms of constant dollars, however, adjusting for inflation, the increase was only 4.7% compared with the 1988 leveL Despite the prolonged growth trend, the 1989 crude mineral output value level was still 3.2% below the record high set in 1980, which was $1,467 billion in terms of 1989 dollars. Less precisely assessed was the value of mineral commodities moving in international trade in 1989. The value of world mineral commodity export trade in 1988 was estimated at $542 billion in current (1988) dollars, and partial returns suggested that the 1989 level would be in the range of $590 billion to $605 billion in terms of 1989 dollars. This would representa9%to 12% growth intenns of current dollars, or a 5% to 7% growth in terms of constant dollars. In any event, although the 1989 level was substantially ahead of that of 1988, it was still far below the 1980 record high of almost $710 billion on a current dollar basis or $1,046 billion in terms of 1989 dollars. This lower level was almost entirely the result of much lower unit values for energy commodities in the later years of the decade; substantially lower oil prices tended to keep all energy material prices down through most ofthe later 1980's, although there was a pronounced upturn in 1989. Certainly though, regardless of the actual dollar value level of mineral commodity export trade, there was an increase inthe quantity of materials being moved between 1988 and 1989. Consumption ofthe majority of mineral commodities advanced in 1989, with a number ofmaterials reachingnew recordhigh levels, but the gains were not as impressive on a global basis as had been the increases registered in 1988. An assessment of 1989 worldwide mmeral industry investment is impossible owing to the incomplete nature of available data. Steel industry investment probably topped 1988 levels, at least in market economy countries, where, for a selected group of countries, Bureau of Mines-collected data showed an increase of almost 7.9% between 1987 and 1988. Returns for 1989, however, were insufficiently cornplete to fix a growth rate. Foreign investment in mining, smelting, and refining by U.S. firms slumped by almost 6% between 1988 and 1989, while the much larger U.S. overseas investment in oil advanced only by 0.3%. These figures, however, cannot be regarded as indicative of investment by
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