ASIAN MORNING BRIEF 26/10: LME base metals mostly drift lower; EU steel usage to rise in 2018-19 despite trade war; Vale anticipates base metals division transformation by 2020

The latest news and price moves to start the Asian day on Friday October 26.

Base metal prices on the London Metal Exchange were mostly lower at the close of trading on Thursday October 25 amid continued strength in the US dollar index, while stronger earnings reports and a broadly positive European Central Bank outlook safeguarded commodity investments. Read more in our live futures report.

Here are how prices looked at the close of trading:

Steel consumption in the European Union is expected to grow in 2018-19 but “trade frictions with the US and cooling global demand” might lead to weaker prospects for European steel users, regional steel association Eurofer said.

Expect a “completely different” Vale base metals division by 2020, especially with higher productivity and lower costs in the company’s nickel operation, senior executives at the world’s largest producer of iron ore and nickel said during a third-quarter earnings call.

Grupo Mexico, the largest Mexican miner, expects its production to surge next year, mainly led by copper and zinc. The company is undertaking a huge expansion program that will raise its copper output by almost 80% by 2025.

Buyers in the export market for pig iron from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have been keeping an eye on steel prices in the US, the world’s largest consumer of merchant pig iron. Fastmarkets’ export price assessment for high-manganese pig iron from the CIS rose $5 on the high end week on week to $360-375 per tonne.

Imported steel billet prices in Egypt widened upward by $5 per tonne to $480-490 per tonne cfr on Thursday, although demand in the country remained weak.

Brazil-based miner Vale plans small-scale acquisitions of assets connected to the company’s existing business lines and geographies, chief executive officer Fabio Schvartsman said.

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