EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEF 21/03: Most SHFE base metals prices weaken; copper, aluminium wraps; US tariffs ‘will not affect’ Brazil’s flat steel market

Good morning from Metal Bulletin’s office in Shanghai as we bring you the latest news and pricing stories on Wednesday March 21.

Base metal prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were broadly lower during Asian morning trading on Wednesday with the risk-off tone persisting amid fears of a trade war between the United States and China, and ahead of the US Federal Open Market Committee’s monetary policy meeting later today.

Check Metal Bulletin’s live futures report here.

SHFE snapshot at 10:21am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session’s close (yuan)
Copper (May) 50,910 -530
Aluminium (May) 13,900 -90
Zinc (May) 24,495 -275
Lead (May) 18,370 45
Tin (May) 144,130 380
Nickel (Jul) 101,760 -990

LME snapshot at 02:21am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session’s close ($)
Copper 6,774 19
Aluminium 2,082 6
Lead 2,376 24
Zinc 3,207.50 4.5
Tin 20,765 90
Nickel 13,445 0


The premium for grade A copper cathode remains at a one-and-half-year high in the US, while rates in East Asia have begun to strengthen in line with levels traded in Shanghai. Read our global copper wrap here.

Aluminium premiums in Asia were bolstered on Tuesday by the higher quarter-on-quarter settlement of premiums for second-quarter aluminium supply to main Japanese ports. Meanwhile, the US and European markets were mostly steady. Check our latest global aluminium wrap here.

Brazil’s flat steel market will not be affected by the steel import tariffs being imposed by the US government following its Section 232 investigation, according to national flat steel association Inda.

Some secondary aluminium alloy prices in the US have increased as suppliers aggressively push for higher pricing amid sustained pressure from elevated raw material costs.

The Section 232 product exclusions process may prove to be so time-consuming for oil and gas companies that projects will be delayed, energy associations have warned.

US steelmaker Big River Steel will soon decide whether to double its production capacity as it seeks to become a go-to supplier for the electric-vehicle market, a company executive has said.

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