ASIAN MORNING BRIEF 14/12: LME base metals diverge; Comex copper rises; global copper market records surplus

The latest news and price moves to start the Asian day on Thursday December 14.

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were again on divergent paths at the close on Wednesday December 13, with the market awaiting a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decision on US interest rates. Read more in our live futures report.

Here are how prices looked at the end of the day on Wednesday.

Comex copper prices nudged higher in the US on Wednesday with the market still recovering from the latest bout of profit-taking and turning optimistic as the year draws to a close.

The global copper market recorded a tiny surplus in the first 10 months of the year, according to the World Bureau of Metal Statistics, with all other base metals in deficit.

Zinc premiums were largely flat in inactive spot markets across the globe as participants rushed to reach an agreement on annual contracts before seasonal holidays. Meanwhile, lead premiums edged up slightly in Taiwan in line with long-term contract terms that were pushed up by an anticipated rise in import demand from China.

Nickel premiums remained stable around the world this week while the market begins to slow due to the holiday season and quieter domestic trading. Meanwhile, two former executives at Anglo American have launched commodity technology firm Metalshub, a digital marketplace for the platform-based trading of metals and ferro-alloys.

In the steel market, mill offers for rebar in Northern Europe moved higher this week, sources told Metal Bulletin.

Europe’s domestic prices for cold-rolled coil (CRC) are expected to increase in the first quarter after mills increased offers, sources told Metal Bulletin.

Similarly, Europe’s domestic prices for hot-rolled coil (HRC) are expected to increase after mills increased official offers, sources said.

Domestic prices for wire rod in Northern Europe increased by €5 per tonne on the high end of the range this week, sources said.

In raw materials, Samarco has obtained preliminary and installation licenses to use the Alegria Sul caves to deposit tailings in its process of resuming iron ore pelletizing operations in Brazil’s southeastern Minas Gerais state.

Rising Turkish bulk import prices, brisk demand from global steelmakers and stronger domestic prices in December all worked to improve US ferrous scrap export prices.

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