At the end of another busy week in the Metal Bulletin newsrooms, deputy editor Fleur Ritzema takes a look back at some of the key stories.

There were big developments at the London Metal Exchange, which proposed a load-out rate increase to cut queues at warehouses, as it looks to “address existing queues”.

The bourse also delayed the launch of its aluminium premium contract to October 26, in order to obtain feedback from the market on proposed reforms to warehouse policy and physical delivery network. You can see the full story, here

Here, Metal Bulletin takes an in-depth look at the latest LME proposals and comments

Also this week, the exchange posted broadly flat earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation in 2014, up 1% year-on-year, following a rise in operating expenses. More here. 

And LME executives talked to Metal Bulletin’s Andrea Hotter about tendering for market-makers for its aluminium premium contracts, and the demand for the contracts from Japan.

Second-quarter main Japanese port aluminium premiums could, meanwhile, settle in the $380-385 per tonne range, with one producer apparently having sealed a deal on the lower end.

But in Europe, aluminium premiums posted a small bounce upwards midweek after falling heavily throughout the year so far, as the aggressive selling of the past few weeks subsided and consumers began returning to the market.

And elsewhere, Glencore’s results were out. The miner achieved net profits of $2.3 billion in 2014, down 7% year-on-year. More about the results here

In copper, Brazil’s government has imposed definitive anti-dumping tariffs on imports of refined copper tube from China and Mexico. 

In China, copper stocks in Shanghai Futures Exchange warehouses saw a surge after the Chinese New Year holiday on the traditional seasonal lull and speculation that Chinese funds had been delivering material. Kiki Kang and Mark Burton had the story here

Noble Group, meanwhile, put out an eleven-page statement, systematically responding to the claims made by the anonymous entity known as Iceberg Research.

This is part of a move aimed at “accelerating down [its] current path of increased transparency”. Claire Hack reports

The Singapore-listed trading house also elaborated on its view that a former employee may be behind the reports published by Iceberg, saying it believes the person responsible is a former credit analyst. More here.

X2 Resources, the venture set up by former Xstrata boss Mick Davis, completed its initial capital raising, with a total of $5.6 billion

Claire Hack considers where X2 will go from here

Lead and zinc miners at Indo Minerals and Metals’ (IMM Marketing) mines in Macedonia have, meanwhile, stopped working, after they were not paid their full salaries for January

And the ferro-chrome benchmark was in the spotlight, amid an anti-dumping probe

In China, an environmental protection campaign has resulted in closures of low- to medium-grade nickel pig iron makers in Linyi, in Shandong province. Check out the reaction from market participants, here. 

China’s nickel ore and concentrate imports fell sharply in January, plunging by 84.15% year-on-year. More on the latest customs data here

And China resumed the export of indium in January on competitive prices from domestic producers after exchange stockpiling slowed. 

Meanwhile, in cobalt, Metal Bulletin launched a tetroxide price, in a week which saw weakness in both the international and Chinese cobalt metal markets.

In people news, London Metal Exchange category II member Mitsui & Co Commodity Risk Management (MCRM) has appointed Martin Abbott as an independent non-executive director, based in London. 

And finally, what do poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and pollution in China have in common? You can find out, here

Next week in Zug
Metal Bulletin’s editors, analysts and senior correspondents will be in Zug, Switzerland, on Thursday March 12 to discuss recent trends and future developments in the copper and aluminium markets.

They will share their insights on a range of subjects, including the causes of the aluminium contango and recent decreases in treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) in the copper concentrates market. Want to come along? Click here for more information. 

Fleur Ritzema 
fritzema@metalbulletin.com
Twitter: FleurRitzema_MB