WEEK IN BRIEF: Fanya disarray; chrome price casualties; copper TC/RCs rise

Charlotte Radford takes a look at just some of the news stories and price moves covered by Metal Bulletin reporters over the past five days.

Charlotte Radford takes a look at just some of the news stories and price moves covered by Metal Bulletin reporters over the past five days.

It was a turbulent week for Fanya, the minor metals exchange based in Kunming, China. On Monday, Metal Bulletin reported that the exchange had suspended accepting applications from companies to sell indium, germanium and bismuth until the end of August. Some investors were unable to withdraw the value of their investments, and 800 people gathered at the exchange demanding their money back. 
Exchange officials announced plans for repurchase agreements using funds from producers, urging investors to “have faith” in the bourse.

It was also a busy week in the ferro-chrome market, as languishing ferro-chrome prices and rising production costs delivered their first official casualty in the form of Tata Steel KZN.

The South African producer has entered business rescue proceedings, and has held talks with several parties who may be interested in acquiring the company or its assets. 

Janie Davies looked at the outlook for the Tata Steel subsidiary in the latest post to Tapped In.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Yildirim Group will cut its chrome ore and ferro-chrome production by 30% due to poor demand and low prices. The company expects the markets to remain in oversupply for the rest of the year.

A strike at China’s largest chromium producer, Sing Horn Group, has stopped production at the plant since the beginning of June and driven up chromium prices.

And Vanchem Vanadium Products lifted its force majeure declaration this week. Claire Hack had the news.

Treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for copper concentrates rose for the first time since mid-May with Chinese smelters returning to the market having set a price floor for third-quarter purchases. Find the market commentary here.

Metal Bulletin’s copper concentrates index is here.

China’s copper imports in June fell month-on-month on slow domestic demand and an unattractive arbitrage for most of the month. 

Metal Bulletin sister publication Copper Price Briefing learned that Xiangguang Copper has suspended operations at its blending facilities in the port of Qingdao, China, at the request of government authorities. Mark Burton had the details.

European aluminium premiums raised a lot of questions this week as reported premiums started to fall despite traders reporting good buying activity among consumers so far this summer.

Aluminium premiums in Asia were up on improving market sentiment, following a rise in the European and US Midwest premiums and a robust contango on the London Metal Exchange.

And rampant aluminium production in Asia could yield the biggest global surplus since 2009, despite rising demand from North America. Metal Bulletin sister title AMM had the story.

A delivery of 49,150 tonnes of lead entered sheds in Busan, South Korea, causing a spike in on-warrant stocks on the London Metal Exchange on Tuesday.

But the bourse’s base metals prices were largely moved by macroeconomic factors this week.

European leaders agreed a new bailout programme for Greece, including serious reforms and financial support, following an emergency summit at the beginning of the week. The news provided a boost to three-month exchange prices, which saw some recovery after trading at multi-year lows last week.

Later in the week, unrest in Greece, declines in China’s equity markets and the news of an Iranian nuclear deal put pressure on prices.

Find Friday’s rolling price report, tracking changes on the LME and SHFE, here.

And Andrea Hotter looked at the potential for Iran’s nuclear deal to affect alumina trade flows. Read on here

Lord Copper explored the value of the market knowledge lost as the older generation of traders is replaced with a new, younger group.

In company news, miners started to release second-quarter results this week. Here are summaries of Rio Tinto and Anglo American’s production figures.

In people news, we saw Freeport McMoRan name Harry M “Red” Conger as its new president and coo of Americas and Africa mining. And zinc miner Nyrstar appointed Bill Scotting as its ceo, effective August 17.

Charlotte Radford
Twitter: @CRadford_MB

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