Saturday, August 13, 2022

LME aluminum set for best week as Russia supply concerns deepen

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London aluminum prices were poised on Friday for their biggest weekly gain as fears of supply disruption deepened amid further sanctions on Russia, which ramped up its attack on Ukraine.

Russia produces about 6% of the world’s aluminum, 7% of global nickel and accounts for about 3.5% of copper supplies.

It is also a major producer of natural gas used to generate electricity that powers production of aluminum.

Three-month aluminum on the London Metal Exchange touched a record high of $3,850 a tonne and was up 3.3% at $3,840 by 0240 GMT. The metal is also headed for its best weekly performance, rising 14% so far.

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Benchmark nickel on the LME gained 2.7% to $27,615 a tonne, hovering close to a seven-year high of $27,976 touched on Thursday. Prices are up about 13.3% for the week, biggest since August 2019.

The West has responded to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion with military support and by tightening the economic screws on the Kremlin and Russians. The United States and Britain announced sanctions on more Russian oligarchs on Thursday.

Earlier this week, sanctions prompted the world’s three biggest container lines to temporarily suspend cargo shipments to and from Russia.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME copper rose 1.5% to $10,510 a tonne, lead was up 0.7% at $2,424 and zinc climbed 1.8% to $3,990.50. Tin was steady at $46,430 a tonne, having touched a record high of $46,700 earlier in the session.

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* The most-traded April copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange edged 0.3% higher to 72,820 yuan a tonne.

* ShFE aluminum rose 0.2% to 23,560 yuan, zinc fell 0.9% to 25,830 yuan, lead dropped 0.6% to 15,445 yuan and tin was 0.3% higher at 342,590 yuan. Nickel climbed 3.7% to 187,610 yuan a tonne, having jumped as much as 6.2% earlier in the session.

* The premium for cash nickel over the three-month contract rose to $685 a tonne, highest since 2007, indicating tightness in nearby supplies.

* Keeping traders on toes were reports that the largest nuclear power plant in Europe is on fire following a Russian attack.

* Output from Chile’s main copper mines fell in January, affected mainly by a weak performance by state mining giant Codelco, government figures released on Thursday show.

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* Global copper smelting activity slid in February, partly because of Lunar New Year holidays in top producer China, data from satellite surveillance of copper plants showed.

* Flush with cash after bumper earnings, mining companies straddle a delicate balancing act as they benefit from soaring commodity prices amid the Ukraine-Russia crisis but also potentially face inflationary risks that could hit short-term demand and slow down growth plans, analysts said.

* China’s Shanghai Futures Exchange and its Shanghai International Energy Exchange unit warned investors of recent market volatility after commodities futures prices jumped this week.

* China’s central bank may cut a key policy interest rate this month, the official English-language China Daily newspaper reported on Friday, citing an analyst at a domestic brokerage.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian equity markets and the euro suffered heavy losses while oil prices jumped as investors took fright from reports of a nuclear power plant on fire amid fierce fighting between Ukraine and Russian troops.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0500 India IHS Markit Svcs PMI

1330 US Non-Farm Payrolls

1330 US Unemployment Rate

1330 US Average Earnings YY

($1 = 6.3188 yuan)

(Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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