The year 2020 has been the ultimate stress test for commodity market participants and will stay challenging amid significantly impaired consumer demand trends due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the chief executive officer of Concord Resources. Mark Hansen said the economy is operating on 70-90% of its usual demand strength due to the pandemic, with huge portions of previously high-demand growth markets - such as aerospace and automotive - seriously affected.

A fire outbreak at one of Russian multi-metal miner Nornickel’s Arctic power plants had led to the death of one worker, the company said on August 3. Fastmarkets understands that the fire, caused by a short circuit, was confined to six square meters and was extinguished quickly, having no material impact on production at the plant.

Aluminium premiums in Rotterdam are on an upward trend for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold of Europe, with benchmark P1020 premiums at four-month highs

Prices for hot-rolled coil in the United States last month fell below those in China for the first time since at least 2013. The reversal of normal trends - Chinese prices are typically well below US levels - resulted from US domestic tags plummeting in July while Chinese prices recorded a third consecutive month of gains.

Most Italian steel producers plan to stop production for summer maintenance in August, but some have changed their schedule this year and plan shorter stoppages due to demand recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic-related lockdown in March-April, sources told Fastmarkets.