ASIAN MORNING BRIEF 24/05: Most base metals fall on LME; China to remain subject to US Section 232 tariffs; Sterlite’s Tuticorin smelter expansion halted

The latest news and price moves to start the Asian day on Thursday May 24.

Lead prices on the London Metal Exchange held firm at the close of trading on Wednesday May 23, while the three-month copper contract fell by 1.6% amid a fresh 2018 high for the United States dollar index. Read more in our live futures report.

Here are how prices looked at the close of trading:

US imports of aluminium and steel from China will remain subject to tariffs imposed after Section 232 investigations despite both countries agreeing to hold off on a trade war.

The planned expansion of Sterlite Copper’s Tuticorin smelter has been called to a halt by the Indian court after a series of local protests, Sterlite’s parent company said on May 23.

Talks between Rio Tinto, PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium and Freeport-McMoRan regarding the sale of Rio Tinto’s stake in the Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia are still ongoing, Rio Tinto said on Wednesday.

Chris Evans has become head of strategy at Circulor, which provides blockchain technology to the electric vehicle supply chain.

The Rotterdam aluminium premium fell for a second day in a row, with a looming backwardation in the July/August spread pushing the market down and stirring expectations of further drops.

Meanwhile, the US Midwest aluminium premium has been flat, with market participants telling American Metal Market that they are in a holding pattern until clarity on Section 232 exemptions is provided.

Aluminium scrap markets in the US registered mixed movement over the past week, with gains on the LME boosting prices for certain mill-grade scrap items while those for smelter-grade product held mostly firm despite some signs of wear.

US domestic copper premiums rose this week for the first time since late January amid rising freight rates, costly fuel surcharges and the expectation for further rate increases from the US Federal Reserve.

In ferrous news, Turkish steelmaker Tat Metal will add a pickling line with the capacity to produce 1.5 million tonnes per year at its facilities in Eregli, northern Turkey, by the end of 2018, a company executive told Metal Bulletin on May 23.

Iranian steel billet export prices rose for the week ended May 23 due to the limited volumes of material available for shipment before August, when renewed trading sanctions are expected to be enforced against the country by the US.

The European Commission will set a 25% safeguard duty on steel and aluminium imported from the US beginning June 20 this year if the EU is not exempted from Section 232 tariffs.

Colombia has launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of welded steel pipes from China, the country’s trade and industry ministry said this week.

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