‘I love you’ Goldman Sachs, Cliffs CEO says year after outburst

Cleveland-Cliffs President & CEO Lorenco Goncalves. Source: YouTube

A year after Lourenco Goncalves raged against analysts from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. chief’s acrimony has reversed 180 degrees.

“I love you, you are the best commodity desk I have ever seen in my life,” he said at a conference organized by Goldman on Wednesday. That’s a far cry from last October, when Goncalves told metals and mining equity analyst Matthew Korn “you can run but you can’t hide” and criticized the bank for being “wrong about iron ore prices, years in a row.”

Wednesday marked the first time the chief executive officer of the top U.S. iron ore producer publicly sat down with Korn since Goncalves questioned the analyst’s calculations for concluding in a note the company “modestly missed estimates.” In their latest interaction, they were cordial to each other.

Goncalves went so far as to say he wanted to “give love” to Jeffrey Currie — who leads Goldman’s commodity research team — now that the bank’s iron ore price forecast is in line with his company’s estimates.

“I have been critical of the Goldman Sachs commodity desk for years,” he said. “For the first time I was ready to give love to Jeff Currie. The first time in probably 10 years that the Goldman Sachs forecast for iron ore pretty much matched mine.”

Goldman said in September it sees iron ore at $98 a ton in the first quarter of 2020, and sliding to $95 in the following three months. The steelmaking ingredient traded at $82.86 in Singapore Wednesday. Goncalves said during the conference that he sees pellet premiums remaining stable at around $50 a ton.

At the end of the event, Korn and Goncalves thanked each other for their time. “Matthew, thanks a lot, really appreciate it,” Goncalves said.

(By Joe Deaux)

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