EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEF 23/03: SHFE base metals prices plunge; US copper scrap spreads ease; Brazil monitoring steel imports

Good morning from Metal Bulletin’s office in Shanghai as we bring you the latest news and pricing stories on Friday March 23.

Base metal prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange traded sharply lower during Asian morning trading on Friday after United States President Donald Trump signed off on import tariffs for Chinese products, triggering fears of a global trade war and slowdown in global economic growth.

The most-traded May copper contract on the SHFE was at 50,140 yuan ($7,922) per tonne as of 10.44am Shanghai time, down by 1,100 yuan per tonne from Thursday’s closing price, with around 316,000 lots of the contract traded.

Check Metal Bulletin’s live futures report here.

SHFE snapshot at 10.44am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session’s close (yuan)
Copper (May) 50,140 -1,100
Aluminium (May) 13,745 -225
Zinc (May) 24,650 -195
Lead (May) 18,495 -360
Tin  (May) 142,880 -1,940
Nickel  (Jul) 98,590 -3,190

LME snapshot at 02.44am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session’s close ($)
Copper 6,671.50 -23.5
Aluminium 2,069 -6
Lead 2,350 -18
Zinc 3,211.50 -8.5
Tin 20,775 -75
Nickel 13,065 -125

Some copper scrap discounts in the US have eased following declines in Comex prices and continued aggressive overseas demand.

The Brazilian government will monitor imports of steel products in order to detect if there is any diversion of volumes previously exported to the US following that country’s imposition of a 25% tariff on steel imports from certain countries, according to national steel institute Aço Brasil.

The Brazilian flat steel market is concerned about a possible increase in domestic prices, although no adjustment has been officially announced, several sources told Metal Bulletin.

Prices for rebar in the US have risen by $40 per ton, in line with an increase by top producer Nucor, with buyers expecting other mills to reduce their increases from the current $50 per ton.

The US will delay imposing steel and aluminium tariffs against several countries while negotiations to exempt them more permanently are under way with Trump’s administration, according to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.