ASIAN MORNING BRIEF 23/03: Base metals retreat as dollar index rises; USTR says tariffs to be delayed vs some nations, including EU, as more permanent exemptions weighed; China sluggishness said behind LME zinc deliveries

The latest news and price moves to start the Asian day on Friday March 23.

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange plummeted at the close on Thursday March 22, while the dollar index staged a recovery. Read more in our live futures report.

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

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has said that the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea will be exempted from the US Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminium imports – at least temporarily – with other countries in line to begin negotiations. 

UK Steel has applauded the USTR for the US government’s granting of a temporary exemption to the EU, calling it “a cause for optimism.”

A rise in London Metal Exchange zinc deliveries can be linked to sluggishness in the Chinese market, according to a representative for Deutsche Bank.

Volatility is expected to be the key risk for lead and zinc prices over the next few years and traders should hedge in order to be prepared, according to a commodity strategist at ING Bank.

Asian zinc alloy buyers are increasingly open to lower-cost alternatives for zinc due to last year’s price increase, according to the top executive of a Hong Kong-based zinc alloy distributor.

Indian steelmaker JSW indicated that it might launch a bid for insolvent competitor Essar Steel after two other bids for the company were rejected.

Chalco’s Guangxi gallium subsidiary will halt operations in order undergo planned maintenance in April.