ASIAN MORNING BRIEF 28/02: LME base metals mostly ease on surging dollar; Comex copper retreats further; historic payment structures allowing zinc smelters to boost output

The latest news and price moves to start the Asian day on Wednesday February 28.

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were mostly lower at the close on Tuesday February 27, with the dollar index surging to its highest level since the start of the month. Read more in our live futures report.

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

Comex copper prices were again trading in negative territory, with the complex under pressure due to a surging dollar.

Historic payment structures are enabling zinc smelters to raise primary output even as market-related terms, such as metal premiums and concentrate treatment charges, remain low; but the opposite is true for lead.

Primary aluminium production at Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) rose 4% to a record 2.6 million tonnes in 2017, the aluminium producer said. Additionally, EGA’s strategic upstream integration projects, Al Taweelah alumina refinery in Abu Dhabi and Guinea Alumina Corp (GAC) bauxite mine in the Republic of Guinea, are making “strong progress,” the company said.

Meanwhile, Ferroglobe Plc reported improved revenue for the fourth-quarter and full-year 2017, which the company attributed to higher prices for silicon metal.

Cobalt prices made further gains last week but the rally was kept in check by buyers able to satisfy some of their requirements by purchasing scrap and pulling forward contracted volumes.

Tungsten miner W Resources has agreed to offtake deals for tungsten concentrate produced at its La Parrilla mine in Spain.

In steel news, ArcelorMittal is planning to invest a further €10 million ($12.31 million) in the expansion of its service center in Neuwied, Germany, by the end of this year, the company said.

Earnings at Mexican steel producer Altos Hornos de México increased by 74.9% year on year in the fourth quarter due to higher sales prices and reduced operating costs.

Flat steel product import markets in South American countries were muted this month due to the Chinese New Year holiday.

In the raw materials market, global output of direct-reduced iron increased by 7.6% year on year in January, driven by higher production from India, according to the World Steel Association.

The Turkish scrap import market is likely to swap the volatility recorded in the first two months of 2018 for a more stable market environment during the remainder of the first half of the year, according to the Bureau of International Recycling.

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