The aluminium import arbitrage between the United States and Asia narrowed slightly in December due to the lower ocean-freight rates only partly offsetting the lower Midwest aluminium premiums.

There will be a massive influx of copper scrap to China in the first half of this year, with market participants hurrying to secure material before the country steps up its clampdown on scrap imports in the latter half, a BMO Capital Markets analyst said. 

Refining charges for blister copper have decreased for 2019 contracts on a cif China basis because of growing concerns about supplies.

With no end in sight to freefalling bulk export prices for ferrous scrap shipments from the United States to Asia and Turkey, prices also have fallen further at US East Coast docks, which have been starved for a sale for more than a month.

Finally, China’s domestic spot ferro-chrome market softened in the week ended Friday December 28 after the country’s leading stainless steel mills lowered their January tender prices.