WEEK IN BRIEF: Aluminium premiums pushed downstream; the new Alcoa; physical copper under pressure; Sam Walsh interview

There was strong focus on the aluminium market in Metal Bulletin’s newsrooms last week.

There was strong focus on the aluminium market in Metal Bulletin’s newsrooms last week.


First: it emerged that the premium is being pushed further downstream, with cable manufacturers being asked by large suppliers to write it into their contracts for purchases of rod for 2015. Jethro Wookey, our aluminium correspondent, had the story.

How did the market develop in this way? Find out here.

Even as primary aluminium and product producers work on formulae to pass on the high premiums in a transparent fashion, a large buyer in Asia called for producers to cut them. “The smelters don’t need the premium to stay above the cost of production,” an executive told Metal Bulletin’s Shivani Singh. Click here to read about premiums and the roll margin in Japan.

And here for more info on a new casting plant in Malaysia.

Andrea Hotter took a look at how Alcoa plans to change in the future. The company will fix, sell or close its high-cost aluminium assets to build a company with two main parts: lightweight materials and low-cost alumina and aluminium. Check out Andrea’s analysis here.

Alcoa ceo Klaus Kleinfeld reckons it is all about innovation and new technology.

Copper buyers in Europe meanwhile are revisiting their assumptions that the expected flows of cathode into the market from Russia will fuel a surplus. The Russian units may be on their way… but volumes from Chile may decrease at the same time. Analysis from Copper Price Briefing’s Mark Burton here.

Premiums for copper dropped in Shanghai, then other locations in Asia on tight credit, the backwardation and poor sentiment.

A spate of new metal contracts are due for launch over the next few months: mini metal contracts denominated in offshore RMB in Hong Kong, premium contracts on the LME, nickel and tin on the SHFE. It emerged this week that the Shanghai Clearing House plans cash-settled, RMB-denominated swaps for premiums in the Yangshan bonded zone.

Copper Price Briefing contains proprietary prices for professionals in the copper market in an easy-to-read format. Click here to receive the first issue free.

What did we find out at the Antaike lead and zinc conference about zinc TCs and the Shanghai Futures Exchange’s plans for lead stocks in southern China? Here it is.

Have a glance at Glencore’s production results for the third quarter.

Check out November’s Metal Bulletin Monthly (PDF) for an interview with Rio Tinto’s Sam Walsh.

Alex Harrison 
Twitter: @alexharrison_mb 

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