WEEK-IN-BRIEF: Gunvor shareholder’s stake sale; Ukraine sanctions; Mercuria deal; copper TC/RCs; zinc TCs

It’s been a busy week in Metal Bulletin’s newsrooms. What were the key stories? Tweet @alexharrison_mb with what you think the biggest stories and market moves are.

It’s been a busy week in Metal Bulletin’s newsrooms. What were the key stories? Tweet @alexharrison_mb with what you thought the biggest stories and market moves are.

A month ago few predicted that Russia would annexe Crimea after a referendum.

Since then the crisis in Ukraine has had some, limited ramifications for the metal market.

Gennady Timchenko, co-founder of energy and metal trader Gunvor, sold his stake in the company shortly before he was placed on a list of sanctioned individuals by the US treasury dept, the company said.

Buyers of Russian metal have signalled that they are watching developments closely – in the alloys market in Europe, for example.

International and political developments have the capacity to defy expectations.

Shortly before Timchenko and others were sanctioned, and US president Barack Obama signalled he would potentially take aim at sectors such as mining and metals in the event the crisis worsens – if, for example, Russian troops were to be deployed into eastern Ukraine, observers said – Norilsk shareholder and ceo Vladimir Potanin said he thought further sanctions were unlikely.

A large delivery of aluminium into warehouses in Rotterdam was linked by market sources to JP Morgan’s sale of its physical commodities business to trading firm Mercuria after late-night talks.

There were other theories too on the boost to aluminium stocks – as well as one large delivery of zinc, which never materialised, which proved that stocks are still worth talking about.

Earlier, a large zinc short position had led some to question whether it was covered.

Does state control in China distort the aluminium market in China? One US trade lawyer argued it does.

A large miner agreed higher treatment charges for zinc this year compared with last.

A spot deal for copper concentrates in China demonstrated the effects of Jinchuan’s declaration of force majeure on concentrate shipments.

The Chinese company said it would focus on nickel after a furnace outage.

MMG confirmed it is in talks with Glencore about the purchase of the Las Bambas copper project in Peru.

The Australia-based miner plans to raise the limit on the amount of copper concentrates it can sell to controlling shareholder China Minmetals.

Care about the outlook for copper TC/RCs? Read this outlook from Metal Bulletin Research’s Andy Cole.

Care about the tungsten market? Find out more about how the market is getting to grips with the legislation and labelling relating to conflict minerals.

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Alex Harrison
Twitter: @alexharrison_mb

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