Metal Bulletin editor Alex Harrison outlines this week's key news from the metal markets and the latest developments in Metal Bulletin's coverage.

Growing copper output
Glencore’s production figures for 2013, released this week, once more highlighted the trend of growing copper output.

Still, copper supply is prone to disruption. Commercial production at Pan Pacific Copper’s Caserones mine has been delayed, as Metal Bulletin’s Shivani Singh wrote.

That, and the hiatus in exports from some producers in Indonesia, bear out the market’s concerns about the possibility of delays and other problems hitting supply.

Copper TC/RCs
It was also notable this week that traders were bidding for clean concentrates at $80/8, a far more attractive number to miners than the $105/10.5 being bid by smelters in China.

Metal Bulletin’s copper correspondent Mark Burton, who captured the move, explained the spread: some traders are bidding at that level to claim market share or to blend high-quality feed into other, dirtier concentrates, while others are positioning themselves ahead of a possible squeeze in concentrates supply, driven by mine delays and export restrictions in Indonesia.

LME warehouse delistings

Trafigura’s Impala delisted eight sheds in Antwerp and Glencore’s Pacorini trumped it by delisting 14 sheds in Vlissingen.

An initial take is that the delistings will result in more material being off-warrant in cheaper storage, thus reducing transparency: one of the pitfalls the LME identified when it first announced its proposed changes to the warehouse rules.

And while that may benefit traders that thrive on opacity, it is less clear how the development will ultimately affect the producers and consumers whose problems with the new LME rules, and the old ones, have been so clearly expressed in recent times.

Click here for Andrea Hotter's view, HOTTER ON METALS: The delistings double-bind. 

Click here for all Metal Bulletin's warehousing stories.

Prices and trade logs
Metal Bulletin’s Shanghai office and minor metals reporter Chloe Smith launched a trade log for minor metals, after our trade logs for aluminium, cobalt and tungsten: crucial intel for those interested in volumes, prices and price formation.

And feel the weight of it! Look at the activity in the selenium market...

The logs signal how serious Metal Bulletin is about its role of bringing transparency to metal markets.

The Shanghai office also pitched in with two new prices for nickel pig iron, a spot price and a price for monthly contracts, which should move in interesting ways as the effects of the ban on Indonesian exports become clearer.

We have also launched a premium for aluminium delivered into Brazil’s domestic market, where declining production and growing demand have put the market into deficit. The steep rises seen in North America, Europe and Japan are reflected in the higher numbers being recorded for transactions in the Brazilian market since the start of the year. 

Alex Harrison
Twitter: @alexharrison_mb