Three-month base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were predominantly weaker at the close of trading on Friday August 2. The downturn was largely prompted by fresh tariff threats against China by United States President Donald Trump that sparked caution among investors and prompted them to reduce risk-exposure in commodities.

Chinese customs authorities are considering introducing a new import standard for zinc concentrates to alleviate pollution of smelting operations, according to a consultation document seen by Fastmarkets. 

China's customs agency has held discussions with the country's major copper smelters with the aim of creating stricter limits on impurities contained in imported copper concentrates, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Fastmarkets.

Soaring iron ore prices have pushed Chinese hot metal costs up above those for ferrous scrap in recent months, stimulating greater use of the secondary raw material, according to calculations by Fastmarkets’ research team.

In battery raw materials, international cobalt prices increased on stronger sentiment in China and higher offer prices while the battery-grade lithium hydroxide spot price fell sharply for the week to Thursday August 1 after China’s lithium market moved lower due to ample availability of material and depressed demand.