Exercise 1: Glencore, Instructor's Analysis

Exercise: Glencore, Instructor’s Analysis

I have highlighted nominalisations in yellow, abstract words and phrases in grey:

Although some of our industrial assets were required to temporarily suspend operations during the year in line with national and regional guidance, or where our risk assessment determined it was appropriate to do so, the majority of our assets continued to operate relatively normally after implementation of appropriate precautionary measures. Across our industry, the impacts were most notable in Peru, South Africa, and Colombia, while Australia and Canada were relatively unaffected. The cumulative impacts of mine supply disruption helped to offset the initial demand shock from rapid lockdowns and the corresponding slowdown in global economic activity.

While demand remained challenging in many key global economies, China’s rapid recovery, combined with material global central bank and governmental fiscal support, improved supply/ demand fundamentals and started to generate favourable sector sentiment and price momentum. Average price performances for our key metals commodities’ benchmarks was largely flat to slightly lower year-on-year, although this outcome reflects two very different halves, from recessionary pricing conditions in March/April to multi-year highs towards the end of the year.

 

Rewrite

We had to stop operating some our businesses during the year in line with national and regional guidance, or where we considered it appropriate to reduce risk. Most of our businesses continued to operate relatively normally after we took steps to prevent the spread of Covid0-19. Across our industry, Peru, South Africa, and Colombia were most affected, while Australia and Canada were relatively unaffected. The drop in supply resulting from shutting mines helped to offset the decline in demand amid lockdowns and decreasing economic output.

Demand grew and prices began to rise as China’s economy recovered rapidly, central banks pumped money into the financial system, and governments introduced policies to stimulate their economies. Metals benchmarks showed average prices were unchanged or slightly lower this year compared with the previous year. However, we had two very different halves: prices in March/April were recessionary, while by the end of the year, they rose to multi-year highs.

 

Observations

There is nothing wrong with the paragraphs, except for implying that central banks control fiscal policy, which is the preserve of governments. Central banks oversee monetary policy. However, many of the words unnecessarily general or abstract: more concrete, precise wording would take no great effort and would help the reader understand. Several nominalisations could be changed to their verb forms.

Abstract language and nominalisations may not wear down the reader in such a brief text. But the annual report is 250 pages long. Anyone analysing the report closely is likely to have questions which might be answer with more precise language.

 

Here are a few words and phrases worth highlighting:

industrial assets: It is hard to visualise what these assets are as the word “assets” refers to everything from stocks and bonds to raw materials and machinery. I used the word “businesses.” It would be better to uses “mines,” “stockpiles,” or other specific assets

appropriate precautionary measures: We expect measures to be appropriate. In what way were they precautionary. I see no reason not to simply say took steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19

central bank and governmental fiscal support: the wording suggests central banks provided fiscal support, which is wrong. Central banks control monetary policy by adjusting interest rates and controlling the circulation of money in a financial system to prevent recession or run-away inflation. I have reworded the text by referring to the types of things central banks and governments have done to support economies. This improves the text by creating word images.

metals commodities’ benchmarks: metals are commodities so “commodities” is redundant and in any case should not have an apostrophe. “Metals prices benchmark” might also be used