WEEK-IN-BRIEF: Copper financing; Russian trade; Sherritt’s board battle; nickel surges

There is no sign yet of copper financing deals in China unwinding, Goldman Sachs analyst Max Layton told the copper market gathered in Santiago for Cesco.

There is no sign yet of copper financing deals in China unwinding, Goldman Sachs analyst Max Layton told the copper market gathered in Santiago for Cesco.

Copper is being shipped out of China, though: among the things that Metal Bulletin’s Andrea Hotter and Mark Burton learned in Santiago was that shipments have been sent as far as Rotterdam and Antwerp.

A large copper producer said that low copper prices after Black Friday had encouraged customers to book business forward in a manner not seen for years.

Why have investors lost faith in copper producers? An executive from one firm explained.

Oyu Tolgoi is back on track, a Rio Tinto executive said.

Updates too from Codelco, Antofagasta, KGHM and Nexans.

A question raised about Metal Bulletin’s TC/RC copper concentrate index: ‘I’ve sold above/below your copper TC/RC index. Why is the index so low/high?’

Metal Bulletin counted the value of the current metal trade between Russia and the USA and EU, mindful of the possibility of further sanctions as Ukraine, the USA,
Russia and the EU prepared for talks in the week of April 14. The USA imported aluminium and nickel products from Russia worth well over $1 billion in 2013.

A survey of the US titanium industry prompted speculation that it might be related to tensions with Russia over Ukraine. Some mused that a strategic stockpile in the USA of titanium sponge might be re-established as a result.

A US legislator ripped into the LME and the CFTC as a result of the long queues for aluminium.

South Africa-based ores and alloys trading firm Metalmin Metals & Minerals went into liquidation. Metal Bullletin’s Janie Davies broke the news.

One of those creditors clawed back its cash when it arrested a ship carrying chrome ore from Metalmin to a customer in a South African port.

The ferro-chrome benchmark is late, meanwhile, as negotiating parties have failed to agree on the direction of the price.

A battle has broken out for the board of Canada-based nickel and cobalt producer Sherritt, prompted by the company’s 2013 results. Disaffected shareholders have proposed that the company consider replacing ceo David Pathe.

Read Andrea Hotter’s interview with David Pathe from October here.

LME nickel has had a stellar year so far. Three-month nickel prices contiinued their upward trajectory, settling at $17,440/45 per tonne on Friday April 11, on the Indonesian ore ban.

A deficit could come as soon as the third quarter, Norilsk predicted.

Commodities bank Macquarie moved forward its forecast of a deficit too and said that nickel ore in China might be tighter than expected.

And don’t expect the Indonesian government to change its mind on the export ban, one well-connected executive told MB.

A fierce debate about chrome ore prices took place at Metal Bulletin’s Asian Ferro-alloys Conference in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Good demand, limited producer supplies and positive sentiment, meanwhile is also driving ferro-molybdenum prices upwards in Europe. Traders were targeting a price of $30 per kg on Wednesday.

By Friday, prices had reached $30.20-30.50 per kg. The first time the price had been above $30 since 2012.

Erdos meanwhile hopes that ferro-silicon prices have bottomed out. Read the interview here.

Minor metals have a hangover, and it was revealed that minor metals producer Vital Materials and speciality chemicals manufacturer TIB are among the companies interested in buying Floridienne Chimie.

Alex Harrison
Twitter: @alexharrison_mb

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