Base & Precious Metals News

Apr 22 - China's March germanium, gallium exports yet to recover year-ago level
China's exports of gallium and germanium products in March declined from year-ago levels, customs data showed on Saturday, underlining the impact of export controls in place since last August. China announced in early July 2023 it would impose restrictions on exports of eight gallium and six germanium products from Aug. 1, amid escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington over access to materials used in making high-tech microchips.

Apr 22 - China's coal imports from Russia fall 21% in March
Russia's coal shipments to China fell 21% in March dragged down by sanctions and import tariffs, customs data showed on Saturday. China's coal shipments from Russia fell to 6.92 million metric tons in March, its General Administration of Customs said.


Apr 19 - Silver aims for $30/oz milestone
Silver may have the power to reach the $30 per ounce milestone after its 26% surge in March-April on the back of gold's record run and copper's strength, even though analysts say the metal is ripe for a technical correction. Silver - both an investment asset and an industrial metal used in electronics and solar panels - may also find it hard to hold on to $30 without a recovery in global manufacturing activity and investment demand from funds.

Apr 19 - Tin rallies, inventories fall after one party takes big position
Tin prices and spreads extended their sharp gains on the London Metal Exchange on Thursday in the wake of a large position taken by one party, fund buying and worries about supply. The LME benchmark tin price is by far the top gainer on the exchange this year, surging by 31% compared to 13% for copper, as speculators have piled into the market.


Apr 18 - Biden - and steelmakers - promise U.S. Steel will stay American
U.S. Steel and Japanese buyer Nippon Steel said the Pittsburgh-based firm will remain an "iconic American company" even after a planned $14.9 billion takeover, echoing President Joe Biden's promise to local steelworkers. The two steel giants responded hours after Biden on Wednesday pledged that U.S. Steel would remain a "totally American company," repeating his opposition to the deal.

Apr 18 - China's March aluminium imports jump 90% on-year, customs data show
China's imports of unwrought aluminium and products jumped 89.8% at 380,000 metric tons in March, customs data showed. Imports in the first quarter totalled 1.1 million tons, up 92.3% from the same period a year earlier, according to the data from the General Administration of Customs.


Apr 17 - Global Commodities excludes Russian nickel from its new trading platform
UK-based Global Commodities Holdings Ltd (GCHL) will not accept nickel produced in Russia on its new spot trading platform due to be launched later this month, it said on Tuesday. Washington and London on Friday prohibited metal-trading exchanges from accepting new aluminium, copper and nickel produced by Russia and barred the import of the metals into the U.S. and Britain.

Apr 17 - Australia's Rinehart takes stake in Lynas Rare Earths, shares jump
Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart, become a substantial shareholder in Lynas Rare Earths, the largest producer of rare earths outside of China, an exchange filing showed late on Tuesday. The stake, taken by Rinehart's privately held Hancock Prospecting, is fuelling speculation of sector consolidation, after the magnate acted as a kingmaker in Australian lithium, and following merger talks between Lynas and the next biggest Western rare earths miner, MP Materials, earlier this year.

Apr 16 - LME aluminium stocks seen falling as sanctions kick in, sending more metal to China
Aluminium stocks in London Metal Exchange-approved warehouses are expected to slide in coming months as new bans on Russian-origin metal exclude material produced before April 13, market participants said, potentially pushing LME prices higher. By contrast, more Russian metal heading for China is likely to weigh on prices in Shanghai, which fell on Monday after more than two weeks of gains.

Apr 16 - China's March crude steel output slides on production cuts
China's crude steel output in March fell 7.8% from a year earlier as steelmakers cut production amid weaker-than-expected demand and growing inventories, but the decline was somewhat less than forecast. The world's largest steel producer manufactured 88.27 million metric tons of crude steel last month, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.


Apr 15 - Russia and China trade new copper disguised as scrap to skirt taxes, sanctions
Russian Copper Company and Chinese firms have avoided taxes and skirted the impact of Western sanctions by trading in new copper wire rod disguised as scrap, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Copper wire rod was shredded in the remote Xinjiang Uyghur region by an intermediary to make it hard to distinguish from scrap, the sources said, allowing both exporters and importers to profit from differences in tariffs applied to scrap and new metal, the sources said.

Apr 15 - CME bans Russian-origin aluminium after U.S., UK impose new sanctions
CME Group has suspended from its platform aluminium produced in Russia from April 13, the exchange said on Sunday, after the United States and Britain imposed new sanctions on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. Treasury Department and the British government on Friday banned the 147-year old LME and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange from accepting new Russian production of aluminum, copper and nickel produced from April 13.


Apr 12 - Global copper smelters less active after China's planned output cuts
More global copper smelters were not operating in March than in the first two months, data from satellite surveillance of metal processing plants showed, after Chinese smelters proposed to cut output and operations elsewhere undertook planned maintenance. Earth-i, which specialises in observational data, tracks smelters representing up to 90% of global production for its SAVANT service and sells data to fund managers, traders and miners.

Apr 12 - Shanghai Gold Exchange to hike gold margin requirement to 9% as prices hit record high
The Shanghai Gold Exchange will raise margin requirements for some gold futures contracts to 9% from 8%, the bourse said. The change will apply from settlement on April 15, according to the bourse, which added that it will also lift daily trading limits for some gold futures contracts to 8% from 7% from the next trading session.


Apr 11 - U.S. Department of Justice opens probe into Nippon Steel's U.S. Steel deal, Politico reports
The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an in-depth antitrust investigation into Nippon Steel's $14.1 billion takeover of U.S. Steel, the Politico reported on Wednesday citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter. The DOJ declined to comment, while the companies did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

Apr 11 - Anglo American Platinum says it has received no offers for S.African assets
Anglo American Platinum has not received offers for any of its South African assets, the mining company's chief executive said on Wednesday, following speculation over the possible sale of its higher-cost operations. Parent company Anglo American prompted speculation in February when CEO Duncan Wanblad said "nothing is off the table" after announcing that the group was undertaking a review of its assets. That followed a plunge in profits and writedowns in its diamond and nickel businesses.


Apr 10 - Global steel demand to return to growth in 2024, says World Steel
Global steel demand is expected to rise by 1.7% to 1.793 billion metric tons in 2024 and to increase further in 2025, the World Steel Association said on Tuesday. The association expects India to be the main driver of demand growth as Chinese demand continues to decline.

Apr 10 - Rare earths prices in China hit 7-week high on post-holiday restocking
Rare earths prices in top producer China jumped to their highest in more than seven weeks on Monday on a wave of post-holiday restocking among buyers, before easing slightly on Tuesday. China accounts for 70% of rare earths mining and 90% of refined output, according to the United States Geological Survey.


Apr 09 - Vietnam to invest $7.3 bln to boost alumina, aluminium production
Vietnam's top miner Vinacomin plans to invest 182 trillion dong ($7.3 billion) to ramp up its alumina-aluminium production to meet the country's rising demand for the metal, the government said on Tuesday. The investment by the state-run firm will go to two bauxite exploration projects and five refining projects in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong, the government said in a statement. It did not give a time frame for completion.

Apr 09 - US must boost Africa ties to secure key minerals, report says
The U.S. must boost commercial ties with African countries to curb reliance on China for supplies of critical minerals, a Washington-based think tank said on Tuesday. "U.S. economic and national security depend on securing a reliable supply of critical minerals, including from Africa," the United States Institute of Peace said in a report.


Apr 08 - Australia's Westgold to buy Karora Resources in $808 mln deal
Australia's Westgold Resources said on Monday it had agreed to acquire Toronto-listed Karora Resources in a cash-and-stock deal worth about A$1.23 billion ($808.36 million), seeking its gold assets in Western Australia. The deal will propel the combined group to become a mid-tier gold miner producing around 400,000 troy ounces of gold a year in the state and with a market capitalisation of around A$2.2 billion.

Apr 08 - Mining magnate Andrew Forrest urges China to demand greener nickel, FT reports
Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest has called on China to demand higher environmental standards from its global supply chain, particularly its companies conducting nickel processing in Indonesia, the Financial Times said on Sunday. Forrest, the chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, said in an interview to the FT that electric vehicle manufacturers should be wary of Indonesian nickel, adding that it was being extracted at immense cost to the environment.


Apr 04 - China says it will continue to manage crude steel output in 2024
China, the world's largest steel producer, will continue to manage crude steel output in 2024, its state planner said on Wednesday, without elaborating on the timing or scale of limits. Beijing mandated zero output growth in its steel sector in 2021 and 2022 to limit carbon emissions from one of its most polluting industries.

Apr 04 - Some Japan buyers agree to pay Q2 aluminium premium of $148/T, up 64% from Q1
Some Japanese aluminium buyers have agreed to pay a global producer a premium of $148 per ton over the benchmark price for shipments in April to June, up 64% from the prior quarter, two sources directly involved in the pricing talks said. The move comes after some Japanese buyers agreed last month to pay another global producer a premium of $145 per ton.


Apr 03 - Asia's passion for platinum jewellery cools, cramping global use
Gold's searing rally is doing nothing to reignite enthusiasm for platinum jewellery in Asia, leaving the global sector facing another year of weak consumption despite growth in the United States, analysts said. Jewellery accounts for 23% of total demand for platinum, and is still the third largest area of consumption after autos and other industries. However, its share has shrunk in recent years due to dramatic decline in China, where demand has plunged 79% from a peak of around 2 million troy ounces in 2014.

Apr 03 - India proposes national iron ore exchange to tackle price anomalies, document shows
A government-appointed panel has proposed setting up India's first iron ore exchange to determine the domestic sale price of the key steelmaking raw material, according to a document reviewed by Reuters and a source with direct knowledge of the matter. After the Ministry of Mines pointed out that some iron ore miners tried to keep the average sale price artificially low to pay lower royalties to the government, the federal government late last year formed a panel to work out an "alternative mechanism" to determine domestic iron ore prices.


Apr 02 - Vale Indonesia targets 2024 output of about 70,800 metric tons nickel in matte
Nickel miner PT Vale Indonesia is aiming for output this year of about 70,800 metric tons of nickel in matte, an official said on Monday, a similar volume to the 70,728 metric tons produced in 2023. The company, meanwhile, is still awaiting a new special mining permit for its operations beyond 2025, said Bayu Aji, its spokesperson.

Apr 02 - Sigma Lithium outlines $100 million investment plan to double output in Brazil
Sigma Lithium on Monday made a final investment decision to add a second production line at its Greentech Industrial Plant in Brazil, aiming to nearly double lithium output, sending its shares up. Vancouver, Canada-based Sigma, which mines and processes lithium in Brazil, plans to increase production to 520,000 tonnes per year by 2025 from the current output of 270,000 tonnes.


Apr 01 - Chile's Codelco posts 2023 profit dip as production falls
Chilean copper giant Codelco reported gross profit of $3.12 billion for 2023, the state-owned producer said in a filing on Thursday, a 34% dip from a year earlier after the state firm faced operational and production challenges. Codelco, the world's top copper miner, posted production of 1.325 million metric tons for the year - its lowest level in a quarter century - according to the filing, compared to 1.446 million tons in 2022.

Apr 01 - Freeport warns copper export ban could cost Indonesia $2 billion in lost revenue
Copper miner Freeport Indonesia has warned the Indonesian government that banning exports of copper concentrate in June could lead to a loss of $2 billion in revenues for Jakarta, a company official said on Thursday. Indonesia's export ban takes effect from June in an effort to force miners to invest in domestic smelting facilities, thus adding value to their products, boosting earnings from exports.


Mar 28 - China smelters plan output cuts, no Q2 copper guidance price, sources say
China's top copper smelters have proposed a production cut of 5% to 10% and decided not to issue guidance prices for copper processing charges for the second quarter, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. The announcements, made at a meeting of the China Smelters Purchase Team (CSPT) in the commercial hub of Shanghai, come after the world’s top producer of refined copper grappled with short supply and a sharp drop in TCs in the spot market.

Mar 28 - India's March gold imports set to drop 90% as prices surge-sources
India's gold imports are set to plunge by more than 90% in March from the previous month to hit their lowest level since the COVID pandemic as banks cut imports after record-high prices hit demand, a government official and two bank dealers told Reuters. Lower imports by India, the world's second biggest consumer of the precious metal, could limit a rally in global prices that hit a record high earlier this month on expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this year.

Mar 27 - Chile opens lithium salt flats for investment, saves two for state control
Chile's government on Tuesday opened up more than two dozen lithium salt flats to private investment, while reserving the prolific Atacama and Maricunga deposits for state majority control in lithium extraction. The long-anticipated announcement sheds light on how President Gabriel Boric's government plans to carry out a policy announced last year to boost state control over the South American country's lithium industry, the world's second-largest after Australia.

Mar 27 - Funds stampede into copper as price breaks higher: Andy Home
Fund managers have rushed to buy copper after the price broke up out of its one-year trading range earlier this month. Activity has surged on all three global exchanges with money managers lifting bullish bets on both the London Metal Exchange (LME) and the CME copper contracts. Market open interest on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) has jumped to life-of-contract highs.


Mar 26 - Indonesia's Antam to start building new nickel smelter, HPAL plant in 2025
Indonesian state-controlled miner Aneka Tambang (Antam) aims to launch the construction of two nickel processing facilities next year under its partnership with China's Ningbo Contemporary Brunp Lygend Ltd (CBL). The projects are part of Antam's deal with CBL to develop an "ecosystem" to produce materials used in batteries for electric vehicles (EV), and part of Indonesia's bigger ambition to set up itself as a production hub for EVs.

Mar 26 - America's lithium laws fail to keep pace with rapid development
Washington's drive to make the United States a major global lithium producer is being held back by a confusing mix of state regulations that are deterring developers and hampering efforts to break China's control of the critical minerals sector. Across Texas, Louisiana and other mineral-rich states, it's unclear who owns the millions of metric tons of lithium locked in salty brines underneath U.S. soils, how the battery metal should be valued by regulators and who ultimately should pay to process it into a form usable by manufacturers.


Mar 25 - Copper registers strongest seasonal Shanghai stocks build: Andy Home
The Lunar New Year holiday surge in Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) metal inventories seems to have peaked with registered stocks of copper, aluminium and lead all falling over the last week. This is an annual phenomenon. While many metal fabricators take downtime over the holiday period, most smelters keep operating, leading to a jump in visible inventory.

Mar 25 - Congo overtakes Peru on copper output, still behind on exports
The Democratic Republic of the Congo overtook Peru as the world's second largest copper producer in 2023, though it still lags the South American country in exports, official data from both nations show. Congo produced about 2.84 million tons of copper last year, the country's central bank reported. Peru's output was 2.76 million tons, the Andean country's mining and energy ministry said.


Mar 22 - More investors push Glencore to keep coal post-Teck deal
A growing group of Glencore investors are keen for it to keep mining coal instead of spinning out the soon-to-be enlarged unit, with one eye on its financial outlook and another on the environmental benefits of keeping the fuel in-house. Echoing a demand last week by activist Tribeca Investment Partners, investors said the polluting fossil fuel would be a lucrative option - for a decade or two at least - even as it is phased out in favour of renewable energy.

Mar 22 - UAE conglomerate seeks to gatecrash China's JHCX Zambian copper deal
A unit of International Holding Company, Abu Dhabi's most valuable company, is interested in acquiring Zambia's Lubambe Copper Mine, an asset that China's JHCX Mining has already agreed to buy, three sources familiar with the details told Reuters. International Resources Holding recently told EMR Capital that it is interested in bidding for the private equity manager's 80% stake in the Lubambe copper project, which is up for sale, a development that may complicate a sale process that's already underway, two of the sources said.


Mar 22 - DJ Global METALS Roundup (WSJ)

- Iron ore edges higher, extending recent gains, as investors believe the weak sentiment toward the steelmaking raw material has run its course, with risk-on appetite setting in, ANZ Research team writes in a note. Prices will unlikely fall much below current levels amid Chinese support measures for the renewable energy sector and the electric-vehicle market, coupled with the low growth in supply of iron ore, they add. The most traded iron-ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange is 0.3% higher at CNY834.00 a ton.

- Zinc edges lower in early Asian trade, in likely position adjustments. Zinc gained overnight on news that a mine operated by Glencore in Australia would temporarily cease operations due to a cyclone, the ANZ Research team writes in a note. However, base metals across the board are likely to trade in a narrow range, as the Fed's monetary policy statement seems to have had little effect on the market, Daria Efanova, head of research at Sucden Financial, writes in a note. The three-month LME zinc contract edges 0.2% lower at $2,520.00 a ton.

- Gold edges higher in early Asian trade, supported by ongoing prospects of Fed rate cuts this year which boost the appeal of the non-interest-bearing precious metal. These expectations are maintaining a positive outlook for gold, says Daniel Takieddine, CEO MENA at BDSwiss, in commentary. Also, central-bank demand for gold could continue to
support it, says Takieddine, noting central banks have sustained successive months of net purchases and may continue to drive demand for gold in medium term. Spot gold is up 0.2% at $2,184.63/oz.

- Metal prices are mixed on Thursday after rising earlier in the session as the U.S. Federal Reserve's dovish tone on interest-rate cuts fueled a market rally and brightened the demand outlook. Three-month copper is down 0.4% at $8,951.50 a metric ton, while aluminum is up 0.8% to $2,301.50 a ton, boosted by improving demand prospects from top consumer China. Gold is up 1% at $2,182 a troy ounce, easing slightly after breaking above $2,200 a troy ounce earlier in the session. "The market appears to have taken comfort in the unchanged Fed forecast for three rate cuts this year at yesterday's FOMC meeting," ING analysts say in a note. "Whether this strength can be sustained is unclear, particularly since the Fed lowered its estimate for rate cuts next year from four to three, suggesting that rates could settle higher than originally expected."


Mar 21 - Lead inventories on LME spike 34% to highest in 11 years
Inventories of lead in warehouses registered with the London Metal Exchange surged 34% to the highest level in 11 years, LME data showed on Wednesday, highlighting excess supplies of the metal mainly used in combustion auto batteries. LME lead stocks jumped by 67,350 metric tons to 267,075 tons after arrivals of metal in warehouses in Singapore and South Korea, the highest since March 2013.

Mar 21 - Platinum metals face structural hit to demand from electric vehicle revolution
In the usual way of things, platinum and palladium should be turning higher after a slide from recent peaks drove supply deficits, job cuts and looming mine closures in top producer South Africa. That they're not shows how hard the electric car revolution has hit demand forecasts. Along with close relative rhodium, the two metals are chiefly used in the catalytic converters used to clean exhaust fumes by the auto sector, an area that accounts for some 40% of platinum demand, and 80% of palladium offtake.


Mar 20 - Indonesia issues nickel production quotas for 152.62 million metric tons
Indonesia has issued mining production quotas of 152.62 million metric tons of nickel ore and 44,481.63 tons of tin so far this year, and is working to accelerate the approval process, a senior mining ministry official told parliament on Tuesday. Resource-rich Indonesia requires all miners to secure production quotas, known locally as RKAB, before they can start production, but they have faced delays this year amid changes in the approval process.

Mar 20 - LME plans to list Saudi port as a copper and zinc delivery point
The London Metal Exchange (LME) plans to list Jeddah, a Saudi Arabian Red Sea port city, as a new delivery point for copper and zinc subject to consultation on a technical change to the LME's warehouse location framework, it said on Tuesday. The warehouses, registered with the LME, the world's largest and oldest metals trading venue, are usually located in areas of net metals consumption or top transit hubs such as Rotterdam.


Mar 19 - China lags in efforts to achieve 2025 green steel goals, analysts say
China is falling short when it comes to decarbonising its huge steel industry, with slowing demand, low recycling rates and lingering overcapacity concerns hindering the transition towards lower-emission production, researchers said. The global steel industry is responsible for around 8% of the world's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and more than half of all production takes place in China.

Mar 19 - US explored adding more cobalt to defence stockpiles, sources say
The U.S. looked into buying cobalt for defence stockpiles last year, three sources with knowledge of the matter said, adding the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) could consider purchases in future despite deciding against them in its latest plan. Any increase in cobalt holdings would be aimed at reducing reliance on China, which dominates the processing of the material used to make missiles, aerospace parts, magnets for communication, and radar and guidance systems.


Mar 18 - China Jan-Feb crude steel output surprises with 1.6 % rise on year
China's crude steel output climbed 1.6% in the first two months of 2024 from a year earlier, data showed, confounding market expectations for a fall in production in the low-demand period when many steelmakers carried out maintenance work. The world's largest steel producer made 167.96 million metric tons of the ferrous metal in January and February, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

Mar 18 - China's Jan-Feb aluminium output climbs amid higher profit margins
China's primary aluminium output in the first two months of 2024 climbed 5.5% from the same year-ago period, official data showed, as higher prices encouraged more production. The world's biggest aluminium producer churned out 7.1 million metric tons of primary aluminium in January and February, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.


Mar 15 - Indian banks halt silver imports as duty differential spurs private trade
India's banks have stopped silver imports after private traders bought large volumes of the precious metal from the United Arab Emirates to benefit from a lower duty, a total of five dealers and industry officials said. India, the world's biggest silver consumer, imposes a 15% import duty on the metal.

Mar 15 - Raw materials squeeze jolts copper out of its torpor: Andy Home
The copper market has awoken from its year-long slumber. London Metal Exchange (LME) copper surged by 3.1% on Wednesday, breaking out of its long-standing range. The move extended on Thursday morning to an eleven-month high of $8,976.50 per metric ton. The trigger for the price break-out is news that China's copper smelters have agreed to curb output in response to a much tighter-than-expected raw materials market.


Mar 14 - Major Chinese copper smelters agree to curb output, Antaike says
Major Chinese copper smelters have reached agreement to lower operation rates, adjust maintenance plans and postpone new projects, state-backed research house Antaike said in a post on its official WeChat account. The Antaike note comes a day after Reuters reported, citing sources with knowledge of the matter, that top smelters in the country had reached a rare agreement to jointly embark on production cuts at some loss-making plants.

Mar 14 - China lithium boom slows as sagging prices batter high-cost miners
A slump in the price of lithium, a key raw material in electric car batteries, is dragging on China's mining of the ultralight metal which together with a costly extraction process is prompting a reassessment of output growth and new project plans. Softening EV demand has knocked down global lithium prices, with a basket tracked by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence plunging more than 80% in the past 12 months. That has already forced many producers worldwide to shutter production and cut jobs.


Mar 13 - Global copper smelters less active in first two months of 2024
More global copper smelters were not operating in the first two months of the year than in the same period last year, mainly because of Chinese inactivity, data from satellite surveillance of metal processing plants showed. Earth-i, which specialises in observational data, tracks smelters representing up to 90% of global production for its SAVANT service and sells data to fund managers, traders and miners.
 
Mar 13 - Tin supply trapped in resource nationalism squeeze: Andy Home
It's no coincidence that nickel and tin are the two strongest performers in the London Metal Exchange (LME) base metals pack so far this year. Supply in both markets is dominated by Indonesia, where production and exports are being affected by delays in approving annual work permits.


Mar 12 - China Copper seeks to acquire overseas mines amid tight supply, chairman says
China Copper, one of the country's leading producers of the metal, wants to acquire overseas mineral resources amid tight mined copper supply and rising demand, the company's chairman told Reuters on Monday.  A lack of rich copper resources at home has driven Chinese companies to hunt elsewhere, with an unexpected supply deficit this year adding to the impetus.

Mar 12 - Zambia's Chambishi copper smelter scales back capacity amid power cuts, sources say
China Nonferrous Metal Mining Corp's Chambishi Copper Smelter in Zambia has cut one-fifth of its production due to power shortages in the country, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The plant, which produces about 250,000 metric tons of copper per year, is one of the biggest processing facilities in Africa's second-largest copper producer.


Mar 11 - Gulf oil giants Saudi Aramco, Adnoc set sights on lithium
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates' national oil companies plan to extract lithium from brine in their oilfields, in line with efforts to diversify their economies and profit from the shift to electric vehicles (EVs), three sources told Reuters. Other oil companies, including Exxon Mobil and Occidental Petroleum, plan to take advantage of emerging technologies to filter lithium from brine, as the world seeks to move away from fossil fuels.

Mar 11 - Booming CME contract a sign of aluminium's Atlantic drift: Andy Home
Activity on the CME's aluminium contract has shifted up several gears in recent months with volumes surging and the number of participants expanding. It's still small relative to the London Metal Exchange (LME), which isn't going to lose its status as benchmark price-setter any time soon. Nor will the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) stop being the dominant futures price reference for China's giant aluminium sector.


Mar 08 - Gold surge could dull India wedding season demand; China outlook robust
A surge in global gold prices to record highs could dampen consumption during the wedding season in India, but top buyer China will see robust safe-haven demand this year, analysts and traders said. China and India together account for more than half of total global gold demand.

Mar 08 - Panama asks First Quantum to suspend visitor program at disputed copper mine
Panama said on Wednesday it had asked First Quantum Minerals to suspend a visitor program launched last month at the disputed Cobre Panama mine, saying the miner did not consult the government before starting the community relations initiative. The Canadian miner announced the program to help the Panamanian society to get a first-hand experience of what was happening at the site of the copper mine, according to a post from the company's Panama unit on social media platform X.


Mar 07 - China Jan-Feb copper imports rise 2.6% as year-on-year demand improves
China's unwrought copper imports rose 2.6% in the first two months of 2024, customs data showed on Thursday, as domestic demand improved from the same period in the previous year, when pandemic restrictions had just been lifted. Arrivals of unwrought copper and products in China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal, were 902,000 metric tons in January and February, up from 879,000 tons in the same year-ago period, the General Administration of Customs data showed.

Mar 07 - Rio Tinto says checking impact of gas pipeline incident on Gladstone operations
Rio Tinto said on Thursday it had been notified of an incident at its Queensland gas pipeline, which Australian media had earlier said was a fire that had impacted supplies. Rio Tinto also said it was checking with energy provider Jemena to understand how its alumina and aluminium operations would be affected by the disruption.


Mar 06 - Platinum deficit in 2024 to be deeper than expected – WPIC
A global platinum deficit in 2024 will be deeper than previously expected as mines hit by low prices for palladium and rhodium cut supply, the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) said, adding there were risks mine supplies could fall even further. The 2024 deficit of 418,000 troy ounces will, however, be smaller than 2023's 878,000 ounces due to lower demand, the WPIC, whose members are major Western platinum producers, said in a quarterly report on Wednesday.

Mar 06 - Gold carried to record high on wave of momentum with focus on US rates
Gold hit a record high on Tuesday, with growing expectation of U.S. monetary easing and continued geopolitical risk buoying activity from momentum-driven funds which could propel the precious metal further. A wider robust fundamental backdrop added support, including strong physical demand in Asia and central bank purchases as well as bullion's traditional safe-haven cachet. Central banks have been net buyers of gold for eight consecutive months.


Mar 05 - Indonesia aims to finalise mining quota approvals by the end of March, official says
Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has approved the mining quota requests of about 120 mineral companies out of 723 firms that have applied, a senior official told Reuters. Approval process for the quota, known locally as RKAB, has been delayed this year, raising concern by nickel smelters who are facing depleting ore stock.

Mar 05 - Shrinking surplus suggests end to two-year nickel price slide
Dwindling surpluses due to tightening supplies and healthy demand from stainless steel mills and China's electric vehicle battery sector mean nickel prices have, after a two-year slide, probably hit the floor. Nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) hit records above $100,000 a metric ton in March 2022 as bets on lower prices were slashed in a move triggered by low stocks in LME approved warehouses and Russian supply angst after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.


Mar 04 - Rio Tinto CEO bullish on lithium but not eyeing big acquisitions
Demand for key-battery mineral lithium will continue to grow, underpinned by strong adoption of electric vehicles but the price of the metal is expected to be volatile, Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm said on Sunday. Still, Stausholm said Rio will steer clear of making any big ticket acquisitions to grow its lithium business and instead look at ways to improve the lithium extraction technology.

Mar 04 - Inside a copper output plunge at No. 1 global producer Codelco
Beneath the world's largest open-pit copper mine in Chile lies a tunnel complex filled with dust so dense that machines frequently break down and workers can't operate without spacesuit-like helmets. Conveyer belts often stall and have caused at least one fire. Construction mistakes have led to collapses and two large electromagnets designed to clear damaging objects haven't been functional in four years.


Mar 01 - Global aluminium producers seek Q2 premiums of $145-$155/T, sources say
Global aluminium producers have offered Japanese buyers premiums of $145-$155 per metric ton for April-June primary metal shipments, up 61%-72% from the current quarter, three sources directly involved in quarterly pricing talks said on Thursday. Japan is Asia's major importer of the metal and the premiums for primary metal shipments it agrees to pay each quarter over the London Metal Exchange (LME) cash price set the benchmark for the region.

Mar 01 - Chile's SQM expects steady lithium prices in coming months amid supply glut
Chile's SQM, the world's second-largest lithium producer, expects stable lithium prices over the next three months and strong demand through the year, executives said in a call with analysts on Thursday. A day earlier, the company reported fourth-quarter net profit down more than 80% from a year ago as prices for the metal key to electric vehicle batteries continued to slide.


Feb 29 - Tighter Indonesian nickel ore supply boosts prices, curbs smelter output
Nickel ore prices in Indonesia, the world's top producer, have risen on tighter supply after government delays in issuing new mining quotas that has also prompted smelters to curb production, industry participants and analysts said this week. Rising nickel ore prices could translate into higher costs for stainless steel and for battery components for electric vehicles and other electronic gadgets.

Feb 29 - BHP to restructure some global corporate roles as it looks to trim costs
The world's biggest listed miner BHP Group said on Thursday it was disbanding some global teams and transferring those roles covering functions including planning, environment and heritage protection to its mining asset-level management. BHP employs more than 80,000 people in staff and contractors around the world and the announcement comes after CEO Mike Henry has flagged the lack of productivity improvement and high costs of its Australian workforce.


Feb 28 - Chinese money still chasing Canadian critical mining deals despite Ottawa's scrutiny
A year after Canada tightened foreign investment rules for the critical minerals sector, Chinese money has continued to pour into Toronto-listed miners, according to proprietary research conducted by the University of Alberta. The inbound flow is raising hopes among some junior miners that it will be easier to find Chinese funding.

Feb 28 - Bearish demand expectations challenge iron ore's price resilience
Iron ore prices, long resilient despite China's gloomy economic outlook, have tumbled since the end of the Lunar New Year holiday, sparking concerns around faltering demand and denting mining stocks in top producer Australia. Prices have fallen by nearly 8% since China, the world's biggest consumer of the key steelmaking ingredient, returned to work on Feb. 19, pressuring Australian mining stocks to four-month lows on Tuesday.


Feb 27 - Indonesia mining ministry working to approve more nickel, tin quotas, official says
Indonesia's ministry is trying to address delays in approving new mining volume quotas, an official at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said on Monday.  The ministry sofarhas issued approvals for quotas, known by the Indonesian acronym RKAB, for 145 million metric tons of nickel ore and 14 million tons of bauxite, said Tri Winarno, the ministry's director of mineral business development, adding that the focus is currently on RKAB approvals for nickel and tin mining.

Feb 27 - India considers export tax on low-grade iron ore, sources say
India is considering an export tax on low-grade iron ore after small steel producers urged the government to curb its overseas sales, two sources directly involved in the matter said. China typically accounts for more than 90% of overall shipments of iron ore from India, which is the world's fourth largest producer of the steel-making ingredient.


Feb 26 - Alcoa aims to take out Australian partner Alumina in $2.2 bln deal
U.S. aluminium producer Alcoa made a $2.2 billion all-stock buyout proposal for its Australian joint venture partner Alumina, in a deal that would give it greater upstream exposure and simplify its operations. Alumina's only asset is a 40% stake in the Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC) joint venture, which is controlled by Alcoa and has interests in bauxite mining, alumina refining and aluminium smelting across Australia, Brazil, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Guinea.

Feb 26 - Zimbabwe wants lithium miners to plan new capacity despite price dive
Zimbabwe wants miners to come forward by the end of March with plans to produce battery-grade lithium, despite a sharp fall in global prices for the mineral, a senior government official said on Friday. Africa's top lithium producer Zimbabwe in November gave miners the March deadline to submit plans for the local production of battery-grade lithium, used in electric vehicles and clean energy storage, as it hopes to benefit from a global shift from polluting fuels. 

 

Feb 23 - Tin's prospects strong as buoyant tech demand meets knotty supply chainBooming semiconductor and technology sales are set to underpin tin prices in coming months, with export kinks in Indonesia and mine stoppages in Myanmar clouding the outlook for supply. Benchmark tin on the London Metal Exchange is the second best performing base metal on the exchange so far this year, gaining 2.7% and touching a six-month high of $27,665 a metric ton on Feb. 13.Feb 23 - Anglo American to review assets after writedowns and profit plungeAnglo American will review its assets after a 94% plunge in annual profit and writedowns at its diamond and nickel operations, the company said on Thursday. The miner announced a $1.6 billion impairment charge on its De Beers diamond business owing to faltering demand and a $500 million impairment on its Barro Alto nickel mine as prices are hit by slowing demand from the electric vehicle sector.


Feb 22 - Australia's lithium producers see signs market is stabilising
Pilbara Minerals said it saw signs the lithium market was stabilising as Australia's top producers reported a slump in earnings and took steps to ride out slowing demand for the raw material of electric vehicle batteries. Lithium prices have fallen around 70% over the past year as EV sales growth slowed, but capacity expansions by chemicals makers and government support globally bode well for the market longer term, Pilbara Minerals CEO Dale Henderson said.

Feb 22 - China lithium futures ride environmental rollercoaster
China's lithium carbonate futures prices rebounded on Wednesday after sentiment was stirred by a market speculation that operations in a major production hub may face environmental inspections that could lead to output restrictions.  The most-active July contract on the Guangzhou Futures Exchange surged by 10% to touch an intraday high of 103,000 yuan a metric ton earlier the session, its highest since Jan. 25.


Feb 21 - Rio Tinto posts 11% drop in annual profit
Rio Tinto's full-year underlying earnings came in-line with analysts expectations on Wednesday, as production gains in its iron ore business countered weaker prices in aluminium, and warned it still faced rising costs. Average prices Rio Tinto received for aluminium sold slipped over 2023 from COVID-era peaks, as supply chains normalised and demand from Western markets weakened. This offset a boost from production growth across major commodities.

Feb 21 - Gecamines plans overhaul of mining JVs in world's top cobalt supplier
The Democratic Republic of Congo's state miner is broadening a push to extract more from its copper and cobalt joint ventures, seeking to negotiate for higher stakes across the board to gain leverage in management of some of its biggest mines. Gecamines is also leveraging existing shareholding in mines to negotiate off-take contracts for the purpose of trading copper and cobalt on its own.


Feb 20 - BHP half-year profit beats expectations, inflation impact recedes
BHP Group logged first-half underlying profit that slightly beat analyst expectations, buoyed by strong iron ore prices, and said inflationary impacts were receding. The world's largest listed miner was cautiously optimistic on a demand recovery in the developed world in the next 12 months but said it was not yet clear how effective stimulus policies have been in China, its biggest customer.

Feb 20 - Goldman, hedge funds step up activity in physical uranium as prices spike
Investment banks Goldman Sachs and Macquarie as well as some hedge funds are positioning themselves to reap the benefits of a newly buoyant uranium sector as prices of the nuclear fuel ingredient spike. While many other investment banks are still avoiding uranium, Goldman and Macquarie are boosting trading in physical uranium and in Goldman's case trading its options as well, five industry and hedge fund sources with knowledge of the deals said.


Feb 19 - Australia's iron ore giants to lean conservative on dividends, analysts say
Australia's iron ore majors are expected to limit dividend payouts in their half-year results this week, keeping cash on hand for large capital spending on energy transition-linked growth, analysts said. Diversified miners BHP and Rio Tinto, which are reporting their half- and full-year results, respectively, are expected to report earnings flat to slightly lower, with Rio Tinto's performance hurt by falling prices for aluminium.

Feb 19 - Australia gives nickel a quick fix, but surgery of global industry needed: Russell
Australia is throwing a lifeline to its under pressure nickel mining sector, but the solution on offer is more of a band aid than the needed major surgery, the carving of the global nickel industry into green and dirty. Resources Minister Madeleine King placed nickel on the critical minerals list, a move that allows the industry to access some of the A$4 billion  of federal government funding aimed at promoting minerals vital to energy transition.

Feb 16 - Mexican mining sector balks at plan to ban open-pit mines
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's proposal to ban open-pit mining will generate uncertainty and curtail investment for the key sector, mining industry representatives said this week. Lopez Obrador announced the proposal to prohibit new concessions for open-pit projects last week amid a slew of initiatives as he looks to shape political debate ahead of a June presidential election that his protégé is expected to win.

Feb 16 - Australia lists nickel as 'critical mineral' to unlock billions in support
Australia classified nickel as a "critical mineral", opening the way for the crisis-hit industry to access billions of dollars in cheap government loans, as its prime minister prepared wider policy support for the green energy industry.  Australia wants to build a battery chemicals industry to reap more value from its mineral wealth, but the nickel sector is facing thousands of job cuts after a jump in Indonesian supply saw prices plunge 40% in a year.


Feb 15 - UK and Japan slip into recession (Reuters)

- Britain's economy fell into a recession in the second half of 2023, a tough backdrop for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who has promised to boost growth ahead of an election expected later this year. The GDP contracted by a worse-than-expected 0.3% in the three months to December, official data showed.

- Britain is not alone. Japan also slipped into a recession at the end of last year, losing its title as the world's third-biggest economy to Germany and raising doubts about when the central bank would begin to exit its ultra-loose monetary policy. The GDP fell an annualized 0.4% in the October-December period.

  

Feb 15 - BHP flags $5.7 bln impairments on Samarco dam failure, nickel operations
BHP Group will record another $3.2 billion impairment in relation to its Brazilian Samarco dam failure, and a $2.5 billion impairment charge for its Western Australia Nickel business, the world's biggest listed miner said. BHP flagged the two-non cash impairments ahead of its half year results next week where its earnings are expected to have broadly held up against the same time last year, underpinned by strong iron ore prices.

Feb 15 - Australia flags grants for global investment in its green metals processing
Australia will offer a total $26 million in grants to international companies for investing in the country's critical minerals processing industry, its resources minister Madeleine King said on Wednesday. The resources-rich nation is seeking investment from allies in the supply chain of minerals essential to the energy transition that are at risk of production or supply disruption.


Feb 14 - Aurubis to work with Codelco on sustainable copper mining
Aurubis AG, Europe's largest copper producer, on Tuesday said it has agreed to work with giant Chilean mining group Codelco on environmentally responsible copper mining practices to improve its supply chain's green credentials. Aurubis CEO Roland Harings told Reuters Aurubis will seek to provide Codelco, the world's top copper producer, with technology and know-how to achieve more environmentally-friendly operations in Chile, including at its copper smelters.

Feb 14 - LME back in the dock, this time over 'dirty metals'
Just three months after winning its legal case over the handling of the 2022 nickel crisis, the London Metal Exchange (LME) is set for a return visit to London's High Court. Last time it was U.S. hedge funds seeking damages for cancelled nickel trades. This time it's environmental activists targeting Indonesian copper.


Feb 13 - Trafigura delivers zinc to LME warehouses for lucrative rent deals
Commodity trader Trafigura has delivered large amounts of zinc to London Metal Exchange warehouses in Singapore under lucrative rent-sharing deals, three sources familiar with the matter said, pushing stocks there back towards November's 20-year peak. Two of the sources said London-listed miner Glencore was also delivering zinc to LME registered warehouses, but that the quantities are small. Reuters was not able to establish the exact amounts of zinc being delivered into the LME system by Trafigura and Glencore.

Feb 13 - China, Indonesia face deeper output cuts to tackle nickel price slide
China and Indonesia are set to reduce nickel output by at least 100,000 metric tons this year as producers seek to limit losses following a slump in the price of the metal used in stainless steel manufacture and for EVs, traders and analysts said. They added further cuts would be needed if producers wanted to boost prices and remove the surplus from the market, rather than just halt losses.


Feb 12  - Rio Tinto wrangles investors over water contamination claims
Global mining giant Rio Tinto, which sparked outrage after destroying an ancient Indigenous site in Australia in 2020, faces new pressure from socially conscious investors and lenders, this time on water practices at two of its mines. A group representing UK pension funds, Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), has raised concerns about the company's water management at its Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia and an ilmenite mine in Madagascar.

Feb 12  - Pressure groups sue LME for allowing trade of 'polluting' Indonesian metal
Two pressure groups have filed a legal action against the London Metal Exchange (LME) for allowing the sale on its platform of metal produced in Indonesia that they allege is polluting local rivers used by indigenous communities, they said on Thursday. The London Mining Network (LMN) and the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) said in a statement papers have been filed in London's High Court asking for a judicial review.


Feb 09 - Palladium price drops below platinum for the first time since 2018
Spot palladium prices fell below those of sister metal platinum for the first time since April 2018 on Thursday, as growing demand concerns and bets on stable supply weighed on the metal. By 1303 GMT palladium was down 2.8% at $869.6 per troy ounce, its lowest in five years, while platinum stood at $874.5.

Feb 09 - Rivals Rio Tinto, BHP tie up in Australian 'green iron'
Mining rivals Rio Tinto, and BHP Group joined with Australia's largest steelmaker to announce a pilot "green iron" project to help cut emissions for steelmakers around the globe who rely on Australian iron ore. Australia's two largest iron ore producers and BlueScope Steel, will study the feasibility of building a pilot ironmaking electric smelting furnace (ESF), the country's first, with a potential start date of 2027, according to a joint statement.


Feb 08 - China's CMOC eyes further growth in Congo and beyond after taking cobalt crown
Chinese mining firm CMOC Group could buy more assets in copper and cobalt-rich Democratic Republic of Congo, and sees further potential for growth in South America and Indonesia, an executive told Reuters on Wednesday. "If there are opportunities, if there are assets that meet our criteria, of course we do consider increasing our presence in the DRC. Why not? We already have investments," Julie Liang, CMOC vice president for ESG, said in an interview on the sidelines of the Africa Mining Indaba.

Feb 08 - Tsingshan's 2023 nickel output jumps to record high
Chinese nickel giant Tsingshan Group's nickel output rose 27% in 2023 to a record 1.12 million metric tons nickel unit, company data showed. The higher output contributed to the world's growing supplies, pressuring prices of the metal used in stainless steel and battery making.


Feb 07 - Chile copper miner Codelco's 2023 production declines, but recovery seen this year
Production at mines owned by Chile's cash-strapped copper miner Codelco fell to 1.325 million metric tons in 2023, the company's chief executive told Reuters on Tuesday, promising a slight recovery in the coming year. Production at Codelco's mines is seen ticking up to 1.353 million tons in 2024, CEO Ruben Alvarado told Reuters during a visit to the underground Chuquicamata mine.

Feb 07 - China raises first 2024 rare earths mining quota by 12.5% y/y
China has set its first rare earths mining quota for 2024 at 135,000 metric tons, the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Tuesday, 12.5% higher than a year earlier. However, the rise is smaller than the 19% year-on-year increase seen in the first quota released in 2023. Rare earths are a group of 17 elements used in products from lasers and military equipment to magnets found in electric vehicles, wind turbines and consumer electronics.


Feb 06 - Anglo American considers deeper cost cuts in face of worst downturn in years
Anglo American may consider deeper cost-cutting measures unless market conditions improve after a fall in prices and a downturn in the platinum group metals (PGMs) sector that is the worst in 35 years, CEO Duncan Wanblad said on Monday. The diversified miner announced sweeping cuts last year to save about $1.8 billion.

Feb 06 - US DFC boosts Congo funding, bids to de-risk world's top cobalt supplier
The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) said it was scaling up financing and guarantees for mining projects in Democratic Republic of Congo, to help de-risk and unlock private sector investment in the world's top cobalt producer. The DFC could more than double its investment in the mining sector in African countries, including DRC, to about $1.4 billion from $750 million invested in 2023 in a major drive to secure future supplies of critical metals, Nisha Biswal, the deputy CEO, told Reuters.


Feb 05 - Western miners lag as oil powers enter race for Africa's critical metals
Risk aversion is likely to leave major Western miners lagging in a race to tap Africa's reserves of critical raw materials that has gathered pace now Middle Eastern oil powers have begun to emulate China's years of investment on the continent. Attracting the capital needed to advance copper, cobalt, nickel and lithium projects in Africa will be high on the agenda when executives, bankers and government officials gather in Cape Town, South Africa, for the annual African Mining Indaba beginning on Monday.

Feb 05 - Rare earths prices seen rebounding in second half of 2024
Rare earth prices have likely bottomed out and are poised to rise later this year on demand from electric vehicles (EVs) and wind power and as dominant producer China is expected to pull back on expanding output quotas, analysts said. Rare earths are a group of 17 elements used in products from lasers and military equipment to magnets found in EVs and consumer electronics. Prices surged to their highest in a decade in 2022 only to plunge last year on increased production in China and slower-than-expected demand growth crippled by the country's patchy post-pandemic economic recovery.


Feb 02 - China's production costs will determine how low LME nickel prices go - Macquarie
The costs of making a low-grade product, nickel pig iron (NPI), in China will be key for nickel prices, which fell by 45% on the London Metal Exchange (LME) in 2023 and face further pressure, Macquarie said on Thursday. Nickel was the worst performer among LME metals in 2023 when it posted its biggest fall since 2008, due to rising production of low-grade nickel products in Indonesia and China.

Feb 02 - Glencore reports lower 2023 copper, nickel, cobalt output; flags further falls
Miner and trader Glencore on Thursday reported lower copper, nickel and cobalt production in 2023 and signalled a further decline in output this year. "Production challenges have become common in the industry, and a lack of supply growth in most commodities in mining should lead to a squeeze higher in prices over the next 12+ months," Jefferies analysts said.


Feb 01 - Vietnam rare earths output drops as China's grows, US says
The U.S. geological agency has sharply revised down estimates on Vietnam's rare earths output and expects a further drop despite its rich resource base, according to an annual report, which showed a rise in dominant producer China's output. The U.S. Geological Survey's estimates, published late in January, came only a few months after Vietnamese authorities arrested in October corporate executives who were partnering with Western companies to develop rare earths mining projects in Vietnam.

Feb 01 - Boliden plans to cut output and jobs at Tara zinc mine, source says
Swedish miner Boliden's plans to shrink operations and reduce targeted output at its Tara zinc mine in Ireland when it restarts this year, a source close to the matter told Reuters. The mine was put on care and maintenance in June after prices of the galvanizing metal hit a three-year low and Boliden has begun talks with staff over a planned resumption in the second quarter of this year.


Jan 31 - Gold demand down 5% in 2023, to be supported by geopolitics in 2024, WGC says
Global gold demand excluding over-the-counter trading fell by 5% to 4,448.4 metric tons in 2023 but remained strong compared with a 10-year average due to geopolitical and economic uncertainty, the World Gold Council (WGC) said. Ongoing conflicts, trade tensions and over 60 elections taking place around the world are likely to support demand this year and compensate for a potential hit to jewellery purchases amid high prices and economic slowdown, it added.

Jan 31 - China copper smelters advised to cut output given tight raw material supplies
China's Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA) said late on Monday it had advised copper smelters to cut production and postpone new projects amid tightening raw material supplies. The world's top copper consumer has recently been hit by unexpectedly tight supplies of copper concentrate after the closure of a big copper mine in Panama, at a time when smelters were looking to expand output.


Jan 30 - LME targets Hong Kong as option for warehouse expansion
The London Metal Exchange (LME) is studying Hong Kong as a location to expand its global metal warehouse network, five sources with knowledge of the matter said, hopeful success there might open the door to mainland China, its ultimate target. Registering warehouses in China, the world's largest consumer of industrial metals, to store metal traded on the LME has been a strategic aim since Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing bought the LME in 2012 for $2.2 billion.

Jan 30 - Copper to dither before recovering later in 2024
Worries about economic growth will weigh on copper prices in coming months, but shortfalls in supply due to mine disruptions and demand for the green transition will bolster the market later in the year, a Reuters poll showed. Benchmark prices for the metal used in power and construction slid early in 2024 on unease about China's troubled property sector and as investors pared back expectations of early cuts to elevated interest rates.


Jan 29 - Chinese copper smelters propose output cuts on concentrate tightness
China's top copper smelters on Friday have proposed cutting their output, three sources familiar with the matter said on Friday, as tight supplies of copper concentrate ore for processing have cause treatment charges to fall. The China Smelters Purchase Team, a group of the country's top copper smelters, held an online meeting on Friday to discuss how to deal with a sharp drop in spot copper concentrate treatment charges, or the price they receive for smelting the ore concentrate into copper, the sources said.

Jan 29 - Chinese companies to invest up to $7 bln in Congo mining infrastructure
Chinese construction companies will invest up to $7 billion in infrastructure projects as part of an agreement over their Sicomines copper and cobalt joint venture in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they said on Saturday. Both parties agreed to maintain the current structure of the shareholding, while the Chinese partners, Sinohydro Corp and China Railway Group Limited, will pay 1.2% of royalties annually to Congo, according to a statement.


Jan 26 - Red sea attacks push BHP to divert some shipping via African coast
Australian mining giant BHP Group said on Thursday that the Red Sea disruptions are forcing some of its freight service providers to take alternative routes, such as Africa's Cape of Good Hope, while others still prefer the Red Sea with additional controls. "The Red Sea is one of the key shipping routes in the world, however, the majority of BHP's shipments do not go through this route," and there have been no major business disruptions so far, the world's largest listed miner said in a statement.

Jan 26 - Brazil orders Vale, BHP and Samarco to pay $9.7 bln in damages for dam disaster
A Brazilian federal judge ruled that miners Vale and BHP and their joint venture Samarco must pay $9.67 billion in damages for a 2015 tailings dam burst, according to a legal decision on Thursday seen by Reuters. Vale and BHP said in separate statements they were not informed by the judiciary about the decision.


Jan 25 - Freeport-McMoRan's profit beats estimates on strong copper production
Copper miner Freeport-McMoRan beat Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, helped by strong production and higher prices for the red metal, sending its shares up about 6% in morning trading. Demand for copper, which is used in nearly every electronic device as well as in construction and many other industries, remains tight due in part to strong demand in the United States and Canada, executives said.

Jan 25 - Tin shackled by surplus, but green industry demand poised to mop up supplies
The potential for a build-up of tin supplies this year is likely to put pressure on prices, but accelerating demand from the energy transition sector, including solar panels and electric vehicles, should support prices in the future. Tin is used in circuit-board soldering for products like mobile phones and in electric cars and also in the manufacture of solar panels.


Jan 24 - Rio Tinto taps Australia's largest solar farm to power aluminium assets
Rio Tinto announced a deal to buy power from a new solar farm in Queensland as it seeks to green its aluminium operations on the country's east coast and halve its direct and indirect emissions by 2030. The company has signed a 25-year agreement with green energy firm European Energy Australia, which is building the 1.1 gigawatt Upper Calliope solar farm in Queensland which when complete will be the country's largest, Rio said.

Jan 24 - Poland, Baltics want aluminium, LNG bans in new EU sanctions package on Russia
Poland and the Baltic states are calling for import bans on Russian aluminium and liquefied natural gas for the European Union's 13th package of sanctions against Moscow over its Ukraine invasion, a Polish official said. The EU is aiming to pull together more measures ahead of the second anniversary of the Ukraine war at the end of February.


Jan 23 - Demand blues dominate zinc market mood
On January 15, Nyrstar announced it would suspend its Budel smelting operations in the Netherlands due to high energy costs. Zinc prices on the London Metal Exchange on that day hit $2,615 a metric ton, the highest in more than a week. But since then prices have dropped 6% to around $2,450.

Jan 23 - Sweden's H2 Green Steel raises $5.2 bln in new funding
H2 Green Steel has raised 4.75 billion euros ($5.17 billion) in new funding for its planned flagship plant in the northern Swedish town of Boden, which will be the world's first large-scale green steel project. The company, founded in 2020, has signed debt financing of 4.2 billion euros, added equity of close to 300 million euros from investors and been awarded a 250 million euro grant from the EU Innovation Fund, it said in a statement on Monday.


Jan 22 - Rare-earths miner Lynas' Q2 revenue halves on falling prices, lower China demand
Australia's Lynas Rare Earths said its second-quarter revenue fell sharply, missing analysts' estimates, as prices plunged during a slowdown in construction activity in China, sending its shares to 30-month lows. Rare earth prices during the quarter extended declines as demand in China, especially in the country's appliance sector, fell with the construction downturn, said Lynas, the world's largest producer of rare-earths outside China.

Jan 22 - Liontown shares crash on potential delay in lithium mine ramp-up
Australia's Liontown Resources flagged it may delay the planned ramp-up and expansion of its flagship Kathleen Valley lithium project following a decline in prices of the battery metal, sending its shares tumbling 25%. Liontown said it was reviewing the project in Western Australia to lower near-term funding needs, which could include delaying its 4 million tonne per annum (mtpa) underground development, other mine plan adjustments, and further cost cuts.


Jan 22 - China's 2023 imports of copper concentrate from Australia highest since 2021
China imported 10,104 metric tons of copper ore and concentrate from Australia last month, bringing the 2023 total volumes to the highest since June 2021, customs data showed on Saturday, as Beijing eased an unofficial ban on Australian imports. China has gradually eased tariffs and unofficial bans against a range of Australian commodities since a new government came to power in Canberra in 2022.

 

Jan 19 - Glencore, Trafigura target spot prices for mined copper sales, sources say
Glencore and Trafigura are pushing Asian smelters to accept low spot prices for turning their mined copper into metal this year, as opposed to industry benchmarks that are much higher, three sources with knowledge of the matter said. Historically, the industry has used annual benchmarks for their fees, known as treatment charges, for contracts to process concentrate into copper.

Jan 19 - Italy to put ArcelorMittal steelworks under government control
Italy will put the former Ilva steel company under special administration to keep it afloat, the government told trade unions in a meeting on Thursday. The move follows weeks of clashes between Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's administration and ArcelorMittal, the main shareholder in Acciaierie d'Italia , as Ilva is now known.


Jan 18 - Australia's BHP flags possible writedowns at nickel unit on low prices
BHP Group said it was reassessing the value of its nickel operations after a price slump, in a move that could lead to writedowns amid an oversupply of the metal used in electric vehicle batteries. The world's biggest listed miner, which signed a deal to supply nickel to Tesla in 2021, is reevaluating the business after prices fell 40% in the last year as Indonesian supply jumped, causing restructures and writedowns at nickel mines across Australia.

Jan 18 - Albemarle to cut staff, pause expansions amid falling lithium prices
Albemarle, the world's largest lithium producer, said on Wednesday it will cut jobs and defer spending on a U.S. refinery project as part of a wide-ranging plan to slash costs amid falling prices of the metal used to make electric vehicle batteries. Shares of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company fell 2.8% to $122.44 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has lost nearly half of its value in the past 52 weeks.


Jan 17 - Barrick Gold reports lower preliminary gold output for 2023
Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp said on Tuesday its full-year preliminary production of gold fell from a year earlier, even as output rose sequentially in the fourth quarter. The world's second-largest gold miner said in November its 2023 gold production was forecast to be lower than expected due to equipment issues at its Dominican Republic mine and lower output at two sites in the Nevada Gold Fields project.

Jan 17 - BHP faces nickel choice this year as high-cost Australian miners suffer
Australian nickel producers, hit by a sharp jump in supply from rival Indonesia, are starting to buckle under low prices that analysts expect will force a rethink by top global miner BHP Group on its nickel strategy this year. The metal has long been feted as a key battery material for electric vehicles because it improves energy density so cars can run further on a single charge.


Jan 16 - LME to suspend 10% of listed metals brands until they submit responsible sourcing audit
The London Metal Exchange plans to suspend or delist 10% of its listed metals brands in coming months until their producers provide it with their responsible sourcing reports, the exchange said on Monday. The move is a step in the campaign, which the world's largest and oldest metals trading venue, owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, launched in 2019 seeking to clean up global trade chains from metal tainted by child labour, corruption or conflict financing.

Jan 16 - Rio Tinto sees China's economy slowly recovering this year
Rio Tinto said that it expects stimulus measures in China to drive a slow recovery in the world's biggest steel user as it reported its second highest-ever iron ore shipments in 2023. China's stimulus measures have already lent support to commodity prices, Rio Tinto said, and it also expects to see an economic recovery in the euro zone gather steam later this year given that interest rates have likely peaked.


Jan 16 - The LME Monthly Report ( HKE-LME )

Happy belated new year and welcome to a slightly later than usual Monthly Prompt!
 
Last year saw encouraging growth on our markets. Average daily volume (ADV) across the entire metals complex was up 11%* to 562,171 lots, whilst December ADV breached 700k for the first time since March 2020.
 
Aluminium ADV was up 8%, Copper 16%, zinc 5% and tin 26%. The star performers were lead with a 48% rise (and the top three ever LMEselect 3M volume days ever recorded) and the ferrous suite, with a 65% increase year-on-year.
 
Ferrous volumes were driven in large part by impressive growth from LME Steel Scrap CFR Turkey (Platts), which grew by 88% to over 800k lots traded (incl. UNA) in total for 2023.
 
Meanwhile, nickel continues to show good signs of recovery, driven in particular by growth in Q4. ADV in the last quarter of 2023 was 50k lots, a year-on-year increase of 47% and month-on-month rise of 23%.
 
Market open interest (MOI) for all contracts at the end of December rose 25% to about 1.8m lots - the highest ever year-to-date MOI growth.


Jan 15 - France, ArcelorMittal agree on $2 bln investment to cut French plant emissions
France and steelmaker ArcelorMittal have agreed on a 1.8 billion-euro investment to cut greenhouse emissions at a steel plant in Dunkirk, northern France, finance ministry officials said on Sunday. The French government's subsidy package, which could be up to 850 million euros, had already been cleared by the European Commission and is part of President Emmanuel Macron's strategy to cut emissions at France's 50 most polluting sites.

Jan 15 - Chile's SQM suspends operations at lithium salt flats due to blockades
Chile's SQM, the world's second-largest lithium producer, said it has suspended operations at the Atacama salt flat in Chile due to road blockades. "Since we do not know how long the road blockade will continue, it is not possible for us to estimate the financial impact of the stoppage," the company said in a statement dated Saturday.


Jan 12 - China's 2023 iron ore imports hit a record high on rising demand
China's iron ore imports in 2023 hit a record high, up 6.6% from a year before, customs data showed, thanks to stronger demand amid a lack of government-mandated steel output caps and higher-than-expected steel exports. The world's largest iron ore consumer brought in a total of about 1.18 billion metric tons in the past year, data from the country's General Administration of Customs showed.

Jan 12 - China copper smelter margins squeezed by tight supply of raw material
Competition for mined copper supplies is expected to intensify, further eroding margins for Chinese firms that produce half the world's refined copper, but significant output cuts that tighten the metal market are unlikely. Chinese copper producers, mostly state-owned, are under pressure to maintain or raise production targets to shore up sluggish growth in the world's second-biggest economy.


Jan 11 - Share of Russian aluminium in LME warehouses rises to 90% after UK curbs
The share of available aluminium stocks of Russian origin in London Metal Exchange-approved warehouses rose to 90.4% in December from 78.8% in November, data on the exchange's website showed on Wednesday. The rise follows a restriction imposed by Britain from Dec. 15 on UK entities and individuals taking physical delivery of Russian-made base metals, part of wider sanctions on Moscow for its war in Ukraine.

Jan 11 - Vale BM says decision to merge Canada nickel ops with Glencore a priority
Vale Base Metals is prioritising a decision on whether to combine its nickel operations in Canada's Sudbury basin with those of Glencore this year, a move that could reduce costs for both companies, its chairman said. Nickel is a key component in electric vehicle batteries and mining companies have been trying to cut costs to produce it at a time of declining prices.


Jan 10 - Asian buyers profit from record discounts for near-term LME copper
Oversupply weighing on near-term prices of copper on the London Metal Exchange has created record discounts against longer-dated contracts and an opportunity for Asian buyers to purchase the metal cheaply, traders said. The discount, or contango, for the cash copper over the benchmark three-month contract on the LME hit a record high of $108 a metric ton on Jan. 8, while the discount over the February contract stands at $58 a ton.

Jan 10 - Norway parliament votes in favour of seabed mining, as expected
Norway's parliament on Tuesday voted in favour of allowing Arctic seabed mineral exploration, in line with a deal reached between the government and key opposition parties last month, overcoming objections from environmental campaigners. The decision comes as Norway hopes to become the first country to make deep-sea mining happen on a commercial scale and secure critical minerals and jobs despite concerns over the environmental impact and international calls for a moratorium.


Jan 09 - China's Dalian commodity exchange excludes iron ore from fee waivers
China's Dalian Commodity Exchange has excluded iron ore, coking coal and coke from its latest waivers on commission fees, according to traders and a state-backed media report, a move market players say could be aimed at reining in speculation. The exchange said on Friday it would waive or reduce some commission fees market participants incur in executing transactions and other processes from Jan. 9 to the end of the year, without specifying the products affected.

Jan 09 - Alumina price panic a sign of future aluminium volatility: Andy Home
The Shanghai Futures Exchange price for the product that sits between bauxite and metal in the primary aluminium production chain jumped 30% over the last two weeks of December, peaking at a Jan. 3 high of 3,838 yuan per metric ton. The distant trigger for the supercharged rally was a Dec. 18 explosion at an oil terminal in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, which is a major bauxite supplier to China's alumina refineries.

Jan 08 - US sets final food can steel dumping duties on China, Canada, Germany, KoreaThe U.S. Commerce Department said on Friday it found that imports of tin mill products from Canada, China, Germany, and South Korea are being dumped onto the U.S. market and imports of tin mill products from China are also being subsidized. The department also found that imports of tin mill products - a shiny silver metal widely used in cans for food, paint, aerosol products and other containers - from the Netherlands, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Kingdom are not being dumped, it said in a statement.Jan 08 - First Quantum 'deeply concerned' about planned mine protest, urges officials to actCanadian miner First Quantum's local unit in Panama said on Friday it is "deeply concerned" about protests announced for Jan. 9 to take over its closed copper mine and urged the government to take action to guarantee security at the site. The union representing workers at the company's Cobre Panama mine warned earlier this week of the plan by the separate SUNTRACS union and an allied group to "invade" the site, in the latest face-off over the mine that provoked nationwide protests last year.


Jan 05 - First Quantum in talks with Jiangxi Copper on sale of stake in Zambian mines - source
Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals is in talks to sell a stake in its Zambian copper mines to Chinese state-owned Jiangxi Copper Corp, aiming to bolster the company's finances, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. Details are yet to be finalized and it was not clear whether the latest talks would lead to a transaction, the person said.

Jan 05 - Endeavour Mining ousts CEO over 'serious misconduct'
Endeavour Mining, said on Thursday it had removed CEO Sebastien de Montessus with immediate effect, citing "serious misconduct". The action followed an investigation by the board into an irregular payment instruction of $5.9 million issued by him in relation to an asset disposal by the company.


Jan 04 - China's 2023 steel exports seen at 7-year high - industry body
China's 2023 steel exports are forecast to have hit a seven-year high of more than 90 million metric tons, the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) said in a report on Wednesday. The world's top steel maker exported 67.32 million tons in 2022.

Jan 04 - Workers at First Quantum's shuttered Panama mine warn of threat to 'invade' site
The union representing workers at First Quantum's copper mine in Panama on Wednesday warned of another union's plan to "invade" the site next week, the latest face-off over the now-shuttered mine that provoked nationwide protests last year. The UTRAMIPA miners' union said in a statement it was "worried" by the plans of the Suntracs construction workers union, the largest in the country, to force its way into the Canadian miner's operation on Jan. 9.


Jan 03 - HSBC expects commodity prices to remain high in 2024, drop in 2025
HSBC forecast on Tuesday that squeezed supply, improved Chinese demand and the global energy transition will keep commodity prices elevated in 2024, before falling the following year. "We forecast commodity prices to rise by an average of 2% in 2024 and fall by 4% in 2025," HSBC wrote in a note.

Jan 03 - Fortescue says iron ore cars derailed at Western Australia operations
Australia's Fortescue said that multiple iron ore cars had been derailed from the company's tracks on Saturday at its Western Australia operations. Local media earlier reported that the Fortescue rail line into Port Hedland, Australia’s iron ore export epicentre, remained out of action on Tuesday.


Jan 02 - Gold to enter 2024 with sights set on record highs
Gold investors anticipate record high prices next year, when the fundamentals of a dovish pivot in U.S. interest rates, continued geopolitical risk, and central bank buying are expected to support the market after a volatile 2023. Spot gold is on track to post a 13% annual rise in 2023, its best year since 2020, trading around $2,060 per ounce.

Jan 02 - Strong gains for cocoa, iron ore in 2023 as energy prices dip
Cocoa and iron ore prices surged in 2023, while natural gas and coal prices tumbled, with most agricultural products expected to outperform energy and industrial metals in the New Year amid supply constraints and dry weather. The Thomson Reuters/CoreCommodity CRB Excess Return Index, which includes more than a dozen commodities such as oil, gold, sugar and copper, is set to fall 4% for 2023 after interest rate hikes dampened global growth and shook financial markets.