What markets and news have Metal Bulletin’s global reporters being covering in the week of June 16-20? Metal Bulletin editor Alex Harrison reviews the top stories.

More than 19,000 tonnes of nickel, worth around $360 million, was delivered into London Metal Exchange warehouses in Asia and Europe last week. Traders ascribed the moves in Asia to material being diverted away from financing deals in China as a result of the Qingdao probe. In Europe, the arrivals were linked to both a large producer and a large bank. 

The jump in nickel stocks served as a reminder to nickel bulls that inventory of refined metal is already at high levels. They countered that cancelled warrants are also at high levels and that LME metal will be bought only as a last resort. 

The probe in Qingdao port continued to preoccupy some parts of the market, though fears of contagion — that similar allegations of double- and triple-pledging would arise in other ports — have receded for the moment. 

The possible size of the exposure of banks in China to the metal trading company that is at the centre of the story became clearer last week, in a report in Caixin Online

Citic Resources said it believed alumina worth almost $40 million was missing, leading Metal Bulletin’s Shivani Singh to observe that a Chinese state-owned company was leading the way in disclosing details of what it thought was going on in Qingdao.

In response to the Qingdao probe, the Shanghai free-trade zone plans to list every single collateralised warehouse receipt to enable banks to track receipts used for loans, a senior official from the zone told Metal Bulletin in an interview. 

Banks are more cautious about issuing credit against metal in China as a result of Qingdao. A poll of Metal Bulletin subscribers showed the degree to which the market believes the availability of finance in the country will tighten. 

Here Andrea Hotter explains why foreign investment in China may also slow further as a result of the events there and what the effects on insurance might be.

As the European aluminium market braces itself for premiums to rise yet higher before the summer slowdown, Lord Copper argues that metal prices are trading on their own fundamentals once more.

In Japan traders booked third-quarter business at a premium of $400 per tonne – up more than $30 per tonne since the second quarter

A large producer declared force majeure on chrome ore deliveries

Metal Bulletin’s Claire Hack interviewed one of a new crop of European tungsten producers

Precious metal fixes have been grabbing attention lately and a seminar took place in London on June 20 to discuss the future of silver pricing

UD Trading is looking to hire

And the New Yorker reported on interesting moves into a new market by junior miners in Canada. 

Alex Harrison 
Twitter: @alexharrison_mb