Multi-year lows in smelting income have sharply reduced China’s production of intermediate copper products, which are primary smelting products and feed to produce copper cathodes, forcing dozens of domestic refineries to search for these materials overseas. 

Zinc was lower at the close of trading on the London Metal Exchange on Thursday August 1, falling by some 1.3%, although nickel eked out some gains above $14,500 per tonne.

Russian steel and vanadium producer Evraz posted a 29.7% sequential gain in sales of final vanadium products during the second quarter, to 3.27 million tonnes, the company said in a trading update on July 31.

A 10% month-on-month drop in Shanghai-bonded copper stocks in July has been more than offset by climbing exchange stocks, which have dampened any supportive effect on copper prices in China.

Russia’s largest steelmaker, Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK), has switched completely to the use of merchant steel slab supplies at its assets in the United States, rather than continue to import its own slab, due to volatility in the market.