ASIAN MORNING BRIEF 24/04: US not imposing secondary sanctions against Rusal; European aluminium market expects premiums to fall; Hydro tells Rusal force majeure may be necessary on certain contracts

The latest news and price moves to start the Asian day on Tuesday April 24.

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange ended lower at the close of trading on Monday April 23, with aluminium falling 7.5% after the United States announced it wouldn’t impose secondary sanctions against Rusal. Read more in our live futures report.

Here are how prices looked at Monday’s close:

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control will not impose secondary sanctions on non-US persons for engaging in the same activity involving Rusal or its subsidiaries that the General License 14 authorizes, it said on April 23.

Participants in the European aluminium market now expect a bearish reversal of premiums after the US Treasury’s decision regarding secondary sanctions. 

Hydro has notified UC Rusal that it might be necessary to declare force majeure on certain contracts due to the US imposing sanctions on the Russian aluminium producer, Hydro said on April 20.

The 6063 aluminium extrusion billet upcharge hit an all-time high in the US this past week, coinciding with concerns among extruders regarding their ability to continue operating in the wake of sanctions against Russia.

The LME is working toward producing a set of standards for responsibly sourced metal, it said during its LME update forum in London on April 23.

The LME will begin testing the electronic trading of closing prices in early 2019, starting with nickel, LME chief executive officer Matt Chamberlain said at the forum. During the trial, the closing price of nickel will move off the ring and onto member trading system LME Select.

Chamberlain confirmed that the LME will remain based in London no matter what the outcome of further Brexit negotiations.

Demand for copper from the battery, electric vehicle and associated infrastructure could reach 14 million tonnes by 2040, putting the sector in need of investment now to avoid a supply shortfall, according to David Wilson at Freepoint Commodities.

The Century zinc mine has already sold 75% of its output for the first 3.5 years after signing the latest offtake agreement with commodity trading house MRI, operator New Century Resources said.

Major international mining companies active in the Democratic Republic of Congo remain optimistic they will resolve concerns about the recently revised mining code in a manner that is in the best interests of all parties, including the government and other key groups.

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