ASIAN MORNING BRIEF 18/09: LME base metals prices await direction; Rusal gets OK to negotiate some contracts with existing US customers; Indonesia to become major battery-grade Ni supplier, analyst says

The latest news and price moves to start the Asian day on Tuesday September 18.

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange showed mixed movement on Monday September 17, with the complex awaiting new direction. Read more in our live futures report.

Here are how prices looked at the close of trading:

The United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has said it will allow Russian aluminium producer UC Rusal to negotiate some new contracts with existing customers, provided they are “consistent with past practices.”

Indonesia will become a major source of battery-grade nickel despite a lack of nickel sulfide resources, Macquarie Capital senior commodities consultant Jim Lennon said last week.

The disparity between aluminium prices on the LME and bullish factors in the physical market were key talking points at Metal Bulletin’s 33rd Aluminium Conference in Berlin last week.

Spot market copper concentrate treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) were stable during early September, with smelters picking up tonnes for the fourth quarter and traders angling bets on 2019 terms in recent tenders.

Seaborne iron ore concentrate prices in China have continued to rise on limited domestic supply, while winter production restrictions have begun to affect the northeastern region of the country.

Import prices for steel slab in Southeast Asia and East Asia were flat over the past week due to a lack of transactions, with buyers holding back from further procurement in hopes of lower offers.

Indian rerolling-grade hot-rolled coil continued to drive down prices for imports of the product sold into Vietnam.

What to read next
Saudi Arabia, through its spearheading of a mining and minerals production and consumption push in the Middle East, a region usually associated with oil and gas, is leading neighboring countries to increase their presence in the base metals markets
Indonesia is preparing to invest more in its aluminium supply chain as part of its wider critical metals strategy, Fastmarkets understands
Market sentiment remain mixed on whether the investigation will impact aluminium prices and production
Aluminium premiums in all key regions remained well-supported in the week to Tuesday June 18, amid ongoing reports of tight availability, while market participants in Europe and Asia are focusing on ongoing negotiations for Japanese third-quarter supplies
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) ambitious plan to diversify away from oil and into metals will increase local nickel consumption and fund international mining projects, given recent massive investments in nickel-intense industries
Fastmarkets proposes to amend the name of the MB-AL-0231 Aluminium P1020A all-in price, delivered Midwest US, US cents/lb to clarify that the price is based on the London Metal Exchange cash aluminium price.