WEEK IN BRIEF: LME liquidity; nickel stocks; SHFE nickel; premiums; al contango; Africa power

Metal Bulletin deputy editor Fleur Ritzema takes a look back at some of the key stories from the past week.

Metal Bulletin deputy editor Fleur Ritzema takes a look back at some of the key stories from the past week.

The London Metal Exchange’s head of business development told Metal Bulletin’s Mark Burton that the exchange is looking to boost electronic trading volumes by enabling overseas proprietary trading firms and specialist non-clearing brokerages to trade directly on LMEselect. More on the story here

The LME has also published details of the incentives it plans to offer to large liquidity providers and new individual exchange users.

Click here for the full list

And in trading this week, a big jump in London Metal Exchange nickel stocks got the attention of market participants on May 26. Here, Claire Hack outlines all the key details from that day’s trading in our rolling price report. 

And here’s our most recent rolling LME/SHFE report

Also in the nickel market this week, Jinchuan Group called on the Shanghai Futures Exchange to accept foreign nickel brands for delivery against its nickel futures contracts, and to set “appropriate discounts or premiums” for them. Linda Lin had the story. 

Premiums for imported nickel rose quickly in China this week, amid growing hopes for approval of foreign brands for delivery. 

The latest Chinese customs data was out. China’s imports of nickel ore and concentrate rose by 38% year-on-year in April

Elsewhere in nickel, Australian producer Mincor Resources has suspended capital development at its two operating mines in Kambalda and may cut production towards the end of the year amid low nickel prices. 

In aluminium, Metal Bulletin’s series on the aluminium contango continued, with a focus on the Middle East.

Jethro Wookey writes that the emergence of Middle Eastern aluminium companies as serious global suppliers brought a new generation of producers to the London Metal Exchange aluminium contract – one that was far more amenable to it than the previous generation had been. 

You can read more here on the aluminium contango here: 

The irresistible rise of the LME contango 

The story of a base metals contango on the LME 

June 1988 – the big squeeze 

Meanwhile, traders were seeking higher Asian aluminium premiums and were hoping that a wider contango will support long positions, lowering nearby metal availability. 

But initial discussions between Japanese buyers and global producers for settlement of third-quarter Main Japanese Ports (MJP) aluminium premiums began below $150 per tonne, down from the current quarter’s $380-per-tonne level, some market participants said on Friday. More on this from Deepali Sharma, here

To view all of Metal Bulletin’s articles on aluminium premiums, click here

Brazil’s primary aluminium production continued to fall year-on-year in April

African power issues continued to weigh on the markets. Zimbabwe’s Chamber of Mines reported that its mines lost as much as 10% of production time in the first quarter of this year due to power interruptions on the national grid, while South African state power group Eskom asked large industrial users such as ferro-alloys producers to commit to shutdowns over the winter period to conserve electricity. 

Troubled South Africa-based company Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium has, meanwhile, been in a legal dispute with Sasfin Bank, a South African financial institution. More here. 

Evraz Highveld has settled a legal dispute with Sasfin over the release of its debtors’ book, but is still planning to take action in relation to the penalties the bank allegedly imposed. What did we learn about the debtors’ book from the initial application from Evraz Highveld’s business rescue practitioners to the South African High Court? Claire Hack considers this in Tapped In, Metal Bulletin’s new ores and alloys blog. 

In Brazil, manganese ore exports fell in April, both in an annual and monthly comparison. Here you can view all the key data using Metal Bulletin’s Brazilian manganese ore infographic

And here’s one for Portuguese speakers

Manganese ore prices were still being weighed down by oversupply and high inventories, the International Manganese Institute said as it released market supply and demand figures for February. 

This week in minor metals, adequate supply and low buying interest kept most prices at the same levels on Wednesday as they finished last week, although some metals bucked the trend. Click here for our midweek update

And finally in people moves, Ross Sabberton will leave his position as md of Wogen Pacific, the Hong Kong arm of Wogen Resources, the trading firm said as it announced four other senior staff changes. 

Fleur Ritzema 
Twitter: FleurRitzema_MB