DAILY ROUND-UP – FastMarkets on physical premiums and Alcoa’s new downstream name

A round-up of FastMarkets’ top stories published on March 15:

Physical base metals markets have been subdued over the past week, with rising exchange prices in London, Shanghai and New York stymieing spot sales and keeping premiums low.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is closing its long-running investigation into allegations of fraudulent conduct in the foreign exchange market (forex), it said on Tuesday.

Alcoa will name its new downstream company ‘Arconic’, the aluminium products producer said.

Primary aluminium production in North America was at an annual rate of 4.35 million tonnes in February 2016, up 20,468 tonnes or 0.5 percent from January, the Aluminum Association, in cooperation with the Aluminum Association of Canada, reported.

The US imported large volumes of aluminium in January, new data confirms, due to an unusually wide spread between the US Midwest premium and the Rotterdam duty-unpaid premium.

Macquarie has changed its 2016 base metals price forecasts, raising its projections for all bar copper and nickel, which it downgraded.

The Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) has lifted its nickel storage capacity by 32,000 tonnes as of today, taking total capacity to 102,000 tonnes, the exchange said on its website.

Stocks of aluminium at major Japanese ports (MJP) continued to drop in February, albeit at a slower pace than in previous months, according to data from trading house Marubeni Corp.

Major production cuts in nickel and a substantial drawdown of exchange inventories are needed to trigger a sustained price recovery, Norilsk Nickel said.

Chinese nickel metal demand is getting a boost from limited availability of high grade nickel pig iron (NPI) and low refined nickel prices

China Hongqiao Group has plans to lift aluminium smelting capacity to six million tonnes per year by end-2016 – up 16 pct from its smelting capacity at end-2015 – provided the aluminium market “recovers to a certain level,” a company spokeswoman told FastMarkets.

China’s state-owned Sinosteel Corp plans to build a 350,000 tonnes per year aluminium smelter, a 1.6 million tonnes alumina refinery and a power plant in Iran.

Moody’s Investor Services has downgraded Codelco’s credit ratings amid volatile and downward pressure on copper prices.

Ok Tedi Mining has resumed production at its copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea after it suspended operations following a fatality at the mine on March 10.

Will Adams

About Will Adams

William Adams has been involved in the metals markets since 1982 – he has experience in many areas of the market from researching to trading and has worked in London, New York and Tokyo.