WEEK IN BRIEF: BRICs special report; Chile earthquake; copper TC/RCs rise; Suralco idled; Evraz Highveld names bidder

Charlotte Radford takes a look at the past five days of metals market news, highlighting some of the key stories covered by Metal Bulletin.

Charlotte Radford takes a look at the past five days of metals market news, highlighting some of the key stories covered by Metal Bulletin.

Eyes were on the Federal Open Market Committee for much of the week, as the market waited to see whether the US Federal Reserve would increase its interest rate.

And though the rate remained unchanged, the base metals came under heavy selling pressure on the LME on Friday, as the Federal Reserve’s chairwoman, Janet Yellen, highlighted a cautious approach to growth.

The LME’s three-month nickel contract fell below $10,000 per tonne once again on Thursday, as figures from the International Nickel Study group highlighted a month-on-month increase in the metal’s global supply surplus in July.

Catch up with Friday’s activity on the exchange here.

Vale has put plans for an IPO of its base metals business on hold due to copper and nickel price weakness, the miner’s cfo, Luciano Siani Pires, told Andrea Hotter.

The sharp depreciation of the Brazilian Real is coming at an opportune moment for the country’s commodity exporters, such as Vale.

Catch up with Andrea’s BRICs special report and interviews here.

CMST Development Co, a large Chinese warehousing and logistics company, is closing in on a deal to buy a majority stake in Henry Bath from trading company Mercuria, according to company filings in China. Alex Harrison had the details.

China has more influence over its managed economy than is available to governments in market economies, making the country’s assurances over stability and growth believable, the ceo of Rio Tinto said.

Political and ethical reform in China should serve as an example to Brazil, as it faces pressure to overcome a political and economic crisis amid the end of the commodities super-cycle, Vale ceo Murilo Ferreira said at Exposibram in Belo Horizonte.

However, global metals prices should remain depressed over the next three years, as the restructuring on the supply side has not yet happened, a manager at the World Bank said at the conference. 

Find all the news from Exposibram here.

Staying in Latin America, a strong earthquake in Chile on Wednesday forced Codelco to evacuate workers at some of its operations. Open-pit operations at Codelco’s Andina copper mine resumed on Thursday.

News also came in from Dundee Precious Metals. The company has started a maintenance shutdown at its Tsumeb copper concentrate smelter in Namibia.

And spot treatment and refining charges for copper concentrates rose by 3% in the first half of September as trade destocking accelerated ahead of the start of annual contractual supply negotiations.

In an effort to curb the flow of “fake semis” into North America, the Aluminum Association has asked US authorities to investigate the alleged misclassification of aluminium shipments from some Chinese entities. Sister title AMM had the story.

Protectionist measures to safeguard markets against a flood of cheap Chinese aluminium exports should be continued, including in India, according to Tom Albanese, ceo of Vedanta Resources. 

Staying in the aluminium market, Alcoa will wind down operations at its Suralco refinery by November 30 due to pressures from restricted bauxite supply, while alumina is trading at five-year lows. 

European aluminium sellers are not expecting to sign any substantial 2016 deals until mid-October at the earliest as consumers are in no hurry to secure volumes in a well-supplied market.

Spain’s economic crimes taskforce has identified several instances of corruption in the tender for the mining licence for the Aznalcollar zinc and lead project in Andalusia, one of the bidders in the process announced on Thursday. Mark Burton had the details.

Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium will be purchased by Hong Kong-based “major metals company” International Resources Ltd, the troubled South African company announced on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, International Ferro Metals, which entered business rescue last month, has attracted the attention of three to four potential buyers for its South African ferro-chrome subsidiary. 

In people moves, LME ring-dealing member Sucden Financial has appointed Gavin Parker as chief operating officer.

This week also saw former Anglo American ceo Cynthia Carroll re-enter the mining industry after a two-year break, having been hired as the new chair of Vedanta Resources Holdings.

And James Mammone and members of the physical trading team he ran at Grupo BTG Pactual SA have left to pursue a refined metal and scrap trading opportunity in Dubai, people familiar with the situation told Andrea Hotter.

Charlotte Radford 
charlotte.radford@metalbulletin.com
Twitter: @CRadford_MB

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