WEEK-IN-BRIEF: Copper rout, concentrates and TC/RCs; Citrine Capital; BHP channels Ebay

What stories and events passed over the screen of Metal Bulletin editor Alex Harrison in the past week?

What stories and events passed over the screen of Metal Bulletin editor Alex Harrison in the past week?

The rout in copper that began on Friday March 7 continued the following week on selling that originated in China, sparked by the default of a small solar cell manufacturer – the first such corporate default in the country, fears about demand, and parallel selling in iron ore and rebar.

The arbitrage window for the red metal as tracked by Metal Bulletin, negative for all but a small part of this year, moved out to beyond minus $200, reflecting the weakness of sentiment about China.

Against the backdrop of fast-falling copper prices, in an excellent interview and presentation at Metal Bulletin’s copper conference in Milan Citrine Capital partner Andreas Hommert explained how the depreciating yuan and the negative arbitrage could lead to Chinese smelters exporting cathode.

Traders would rather have been in front of their screens and active in the market as the biggest move in years took place. Find out what else we learned.

(Incidentally, at around the same time Charles Li, ceo of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, told a conference in Florida that China “does not have pricing power, it does not have international influence, it does not have international benchmarks”. )

The collapse in copper prices could cause big knock-on effects in the market for concentrates.

Metal Bulletin launched a copper concentrates treatment and refining charge (TC/RC) index, the first of its kind, at the conference.

Copper TC/RCs as indexed by Metal Bulletin fell on March 14: find out why.

Check out the specification…

… or sign up for a price history.

Copper prices suffered. But nickel prices gained as the market finally came to grips with the effects of the Indonesian ore ban and stronger demand from the stainless steel industry. Premiums for briquettes particularly rose strongly.

This interview from February now looks prescient.

The Indonesian government is considering a regulation to require tin solders to be traded on the Indonesian Commodity & Derivatives Exchange before export in a bid to remove a loophole enabling tin units in solders to be exported in place of ingot, which must already be traded on the exchange.

Cadmium traders have turned their attention to India as a result of a fall in demand in China, the world’s largest consumer.

Carlyle Group and affiliates of Louis M Bacon, the founder and ceo of Moore Capital, took a majority stake in trading company Traxys. Management of Traxys also increased their investment stake in the Luxembourg-headquartered firm.

The London Metal Exchange may introduce market-makers to boost liquidity in new contracts, ceo Garry Jones told Metal Bulletin in an interview.

BHP Billiton channelled Ebay in its marketing business. Find out how here.

Alex Harrison
Twitter: @alexharrison_mb

What to read next
Some cathode makers have been switching back to lower-nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) from high-nickel NCM cathodes to reduce costs and encourage consumers amid slowing demand for electric vehicles (EVs), Fastmarkets understands
Find out how days before the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, the World Economic Forum (WEF) outlined three key areas of investment for the global aluminium industry to reach net zero by 2050 – clean energy, emerging technologies and decarbonization infrastructure – but it will require hundreds of billions of dollars
“The [Department] has a set of tools through the Inflation Reduction Act [IRA] and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” Annie Sartor, aluminum campaign director at clean industry advocate group Industrious Labs, said. “They are open to talking about what the industry needs. When we said the current investments were not enough, they were open to conversation,” […]
There is a sense of cautious optimism in the mining sector following the election of Javier Milei as the new president of Argentina on Sunday November 19, Fastmarkets understands
Copper scrap discounts in the United States continued to be steady in the week to Wednesday November 22, with sources noting little changes week on week ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Fastmarkets invited feedback from the industry on its non-ferrous and industrial minerals methodologies, via an open consultation process between October 5 and November 3. This consultation was done as part of our published annual methodology review process.