ASIAN MORNING BRIEF 22/02: Nickel shines as most LME base metals rebound; DRC mining code uncertainty has industry sitting tight; EV demand has Glencore upbeat on copper, zinc, nickel, cobalt

The latest news and price moves to start the Asian day on Thursday February 22.

Nickel was again the star performer on the London Metal Exchange at the 5pm close on Wednesday February 21, ending with gains of around 2%. Read more in our live futures report.

Here are how LME prices looked at Wednesday’s close:

International miners active in the Democratic Republic of Congo are in wait-and-see mode after unifying to discuss mining code proposals with the country’s president, according Glencore chief executive officer Ivan Glasenberg.

Glencore’s upbeat outlook for copper, zinc, nickel and cobalt is being driven by optimism for growth in the electric vehicle market, while the company’s net income more quadrupled to $5.78 billion in 2017 due to higher commodity prices.

A lack of clarity about the outcome of the Section 232 investigation in the United States and how long the backwardation in London Metal Exchange forward spreads will persist have led to an impasse in the European aluminium market, with bulls less confident than they were previously despite still-elevated premiums.

The US Midwest aluminium premium ticked up over the past week following the Commerce Department’s confirmation that it made three recommendations to President Donald Trump in the Section 232 investigation into the country’s aluminium imports.

The global zinc market recorded a 495,000-tonne deficit last year, mainly driven by growing consumption in such countries as China and Japan, according to the International Zinc and Lead Study Group.

Nickel production at Eramet increased by 7% year on year to 59,183 tonnes in 2017, the nickel and manganese producer said in its annual report on February 20.

Nickel ore production in the Philippines fell 6% year on year to 23.35 million dry metric tons in 2017, according to the country’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

Southern Peru Copper Corp has won the tender to develop the $2-billion Michiquillay copper mining project in northern Peru, state-run investment agency Proinversion said on Tuesday.

The US copper market is facing similar headwinds as the rest of the metals complex, with rising trucking costs playing a larger role than in previous years.

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