WEEK IN BRIEF: Aluminium premiums; copper climbs; Noble results; SFP sale talks

Conference season was in full swing last week, and the news was coming in thick and fast. Here we take a look at some of the key stories from the past week.

Conference season was in full swing this week, and the news was coming in thick and fast. Here we take a look at some of the key stories from the past seven days.

This time last year aluminium premiums in Europe, the USA and Asia were rising rapidly on pent-up consumer spot-buying. In 2015 it is the other way around.

Find out more about what is going on in 2015 in Europe, Brazil, the USA and Japan.

If you want all Metal Bulletin’s premiums in a weekly emailed newsletter, contact Merrin Higgins, who can set it up for you.

Copper climbs
Copper prices climbed on the week on short covering and technical buying after the return of China on Wednesday, following the New Year celebrations. Rises were capped by profit-taking on Friday. Click here for the story.

The big question: what did copper prices pre- and post-Chinese New Year suggest to brokers and traders?

European copper smelter Aurubis considered the possible ramifications of Russia renewing its export tax on cathode, which Metal Bulletin sister publication Copper Price Briefing first reported earlier in February. More here on a “double-edged sword”.

And what has caused the big deliveries into LME sheds? Copper Price Briefing editor Mark Burton asked a top executive in the European copper market.

Manganese ore miner Kudumane Manganese Resources has been placed under supervision and business rescue proceedings must commence, a South African court has ordered. Janie Davies had the story.

Key base metal facts
Base metal imports into China in January: a concise breakdown here.

A big planned merger in silicon and ferro-silicon has led to monopoly concerns. Metal Bulletin’s Chloe Smith canvassed a market where more supply might be concentrated in one party’s hands

Noble results
Trading company Noble Resources published its results (profits dropped, though metal volumes increased).

It also talked about Iceberg, the company that has made a series of allegations about it. Find out more here.

Minors
Speciality metals producer 5N Plus expects the Fanya Metal Exchange “or something similar” to come back into the bismuth market, providing some stability to prices.

Since the Fanya Metal Exchange’s inception in 2011, it has provoked curiosity in the minor metals markets as growing stockpiles drove indium prices up 55% and bismuth up 65% at their peak, with many struggling to understand how it worked and who was behind it.

Here, Metal Bulletin takes a closer look at two of the top executives behind the Fanya exchange.

Cobalt trading house SFP Metals is, meanwhile, understood to have held talks with a number of parties about its potential sale. More here.

And cobalt prices are still languishing in the low teens amid weak demand and poor economic indicators. Still, with expectations of price hikes in the long-term, Metal Bulletin considers if, and when, we’ll see a real price surge.

Standard Bank’s commodities co-chief Jim Coupland is leaving after 20 years at the bank, a company spokesman confirmed to Metal Bulletin.

Alex Harrison
aharrison@metalbulletin.com
Twitter: @alexharrison_mb

Fleur Ritzema
fritzema@metalbulletin.com
Twitter: FleurRitzema_MB

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