EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEF 21/05: China lead import window opens; Sterlite copper smelter outage extended; battery-grade lithium hydroxide spot prices under pressure

Good morning from Metal Bulletin’s offices in Asia, bringing the latest news and pricing stories on Monday May 21.

Nickel prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell during Asian morning trading on Monday amid a stronger dollar, but the outlook for the metal remains positive owing to strong fundamentals.

Check Metal Bulletin’s live futures report here.

LME snapshot at 02.28am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
Price ($ per tonne) Change since Friday’s close ($)
Copper 6,866.50 11.5
Aluminium 2,255.50 -14.5
Lead 2,351 21
Zinc 3,107.50 8
Tin 20,715 -65
Nickel 14,545 -205

SHFE snapshot at 09.29am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
Price (yuan per tonne) Change since Friday’s close (yuan)
Copper (June) 51,390 100
Aluminium (June) 14,795 -45
Zinc (June) 23,975 250
Lead (June) 19,770 105
Tin (July) 145,780 780
Nickel (September) 108,530 -1,710

Lead is starting to be imported into China at a profit after shorts drove down international market prices far enough to trigger an arbitrage.

Sterlite’s refined copper smelter, Tuticorin, will remain closed for another 20 days after the local court adjourned the next hearing on Sterlite’s appeal against a decision not to renew consent of the smelter operation, Metal Bulletin understands.

Global battery-grade lithium hydroxide spot prices fell last week, influenced by the recent softer lithium carbonate markets as well as consumer expectations for lower prices.

Chinese ferro-chrome prices have rebounded amid strong ore prices, together with concerns towards potential supply cuts to major ferro-chrome production hubs following environmental inspections. Click here to get a brief roundup of the global chrome market.

Mark Teroerde has resigned from his role at Switzerland-based trading house Telf as a head of sales of ferro-alloys; his responsibilities have been taken on by David Kramer, who widens his existing portfolio at Telf covering refined ferro-alloys.

Weaker demand teased out cheaper lithium hydroxide offers, and European cobalt prices fell on cheap materials and stagnant buying activities. Check Metal Bulletin’s latest weekly Battery Raw Materials Report here.

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