EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEF 25/01: SHFE nickel leads the pack higher; US Midwest aluminium premium nears three-year high; lithium facing increasing competition in EV battery race

Good morning from Metal Bulletin’s offices in Shanghai as we bring you the latest news and pricing stories on Thursday January 25.

Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were stronger across the board during Asian morning trading on Thursday, with nickel leading the gains amid weakness in the dollar and firm demand.

Check Metal Bulletin’s live futures report here.

LME snapshot at 01.51am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne)  Change since yesterday’s close ($)
Copper 7,135 -15
Aluminium 2,242.50 -7.5
Lead 2,632 -8.5
Zinc 3,449.50 9.5
Tin 21,005 -85
Nickel 13,580 5

SHFE snapshot at 09.51am Shanghai time
Most traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne)  Change since yesterday’s close (yuan)
Copper  53,750 1,020
Aluminium 14,735 95
Zinc 26,260 385
Lead 19,605 30
Tin  147,350 750
Nickel  103,780 5,140

The US Midwest aluminium premium has risen again this week, jumping by nearly 5% on a combination of issues including transportation concerns and potential trade policy changes.

Lithium’s crown as the leading raw material in batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) is facing increasing competition from other products such as cobalt and nickel.

US aluminium producers’ capacity for automotive sheet output is growing in line with forecasts, suggesting that demand from automakers is as strong as market participants had hoped.

Manganese flake prices surged above $2,000 per tonne amid ongoing environmental inspections in China with further production disruptions adding fresh impetus to this year’s rally.

Premiums for zinc and lead ingots were unchanged in a week where prices hit multi-year highs for both metals.

Brazil’s primary aluminium production has edged up in 2017, according to figures from the country’s aluminium association Abal.

European Metal Recycling Ltd’s acquisition of Metal & Waste Recycling Ltd is facing further scrutiny after the United Kingdom’s competition watchdog said on Wednesday January 24 that it is concerned that the merger could create an unfair marketplace.

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