ASIAN MORNING BRIEF 01/08: LME base metals edge higher on easing US-Chinese trade relations; Gundersen leaves Mercuria; Barratt joins ED&F Man

The latest news and price moves to start the Asian day on Wednesday August 1.

Base metals on the London Metal Exchange moved higher at the close of trading on Tuesday July 31, supported by easing trade relations between the United States and China amid broad stock drawdowns and a seasonal summer slowdown. Read more here in our live futures report.

Here are how prices looked at the close of trading:

Comex copper prices recovered after a three-day downturn, with talks of a strike at Escondida mine spurring the red metal higher.

Grant Barratt, former director of metal sales at ScotiaBank, has joined ED&F Man in New York, the company said.

The chief aluminium trader at Switzerland-based Mercuria, Erik Bay Gundersen, has left the company with his Europe-centered book being wound down, Metal Bulletin understands.

With the trial of suspects involved in the Fanya Metal Exchange finally taking place earlier this month in Kunming, China, concerns of the vast minor metals stocks the exchange held have re-emerged.

Earnings at Novolipetsk Steel, Russia’s largest steelmaker, soared by 52% year on year in the second quarter of 2018 on better prices and increased sales volumes, the company said in a financial report on July 31.

UK long steel producer British Steel has announced that it intends to increase the price of its structural sections by £30 ($39) per tonne with effect from deliveries from August 1.

European steel buyers are likely to turn to the import market to purchase material in the coming months, until the quotas recently applied by the European Union are filled, Metal Bulletin Research believes.

Global direct-reduced iron output increased 27.15% year on year in June, according to new statistics published by the World Steel Association late last week.