ASIAN MORNING BRIEF 05/04: LME base metals tumble in unison; China could become exporter of alumina; China condemns planned tariffs by US

The latest news and price moves to start the Asian day on Thursday April 5.

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange dropped throughout the day on Wednesday April 4, with sentiment remaining low after trade tensions between the United States and China escalated. Read more in our live futures report.

Here are how prices finished Wednesday afternoon.

With a widening differential between Chinese domestic and international alumina prices and lingering tightened availability of spot material in the Atlantic, China could potentially become an exporter of the raw material, according to market participants.

Chinese aluminium and aluminium products are among a list of 1,300 items that the United States is targeting with a 25% import tax following its Section 301 investigation – a move that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said it “strongly condemns and firmly opposes.”

China has threatened to deepen its ongoing trade war with the US by implementing similar trade measures on the latter’s products after the US Trade Representative’s office proposed an additional 25% duty on a list of Chinese goods. 

Aluminium ingot ADC 12 export prices fell after China dealt a serious blow to the raw material market with a blanket 25% tariff on US aluminium scrap.

The implementation of the US Section 232 aluminium import tariff and a backwardation in the country’s Midwest aluminium market continued to offset the advantages of a wide aluminium arbitrage in March.

China will cut its value-added tax on all imported goods by 1 percentage point, 5.9%, effective on May 1, the Finance Ministry and State Administration of Taxation said in a filing late on Wednesday.

In a comprehensive interview with Andrea Hotter in the April 2018 issue of Metal Market Magazine, Norilsk Nickel chairman Gareth Penny gave his predictions for electric and hybrid vehicle growth and how the company will move to maximize the value of its products.

South Korea’s Public Procurement Service has awarded a 500-tonne zinc tender at a premium of $143 per tonne to Youngpoong Corp, according to a notice from the state agency on April 3.

In ferrous news, market sources told Metal Bulletin that Queensland’s Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal has declared force majeure due to unfavorable weather conditions caused by a cyclone off the Australian state’s coast.

The European Non-Integrated Wire Rod Processors Association has expressed concern about the recent safeguard investigation on imports of steel from all non-EU origins, it said on Wednesday.

Turkey must impose new trade measures to protect its domestic steel industry from the potential effects of a new wave of imports due to material being turned away by the US and Europe as a result of their new trade protections, the Turkish steel producers’ association TCUD said this week.