Aluminum prices slipped on Tuesday as rising coronavirus cases in China clouded growth outlook for the top metals consumer, although losses were capped by jitters over supply disruption as Russia-Ukraine peace discussions failed to ease conflict.
Three-month aluminum on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 0.1% at $3,516 a tonne by 0236 GMT, but hovered close to a near two-week high scaled on Monday.
The most-traded May aluminum contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.7% to 22,875 yuan ($3,594.21) a tonne.
China’s financial hub Shanghai on Tuesday reported a fifth consecutive daily record for locally transmitted COVID-19 asymptomatic cases as the highly infectious Omicron variant complicates efforts to stop the virus spreading.
However, exacerbating aluminum supply concerns was Australia’s export ban of alumina and aluminum ores to Russia as part of its sanctions against Moscow, while Germany-based TRIMET is also due to cut aluminum production at Essen facility by 50% due to higher energy prices.
* LME copper fell 0.4% to $10,257 a tonne, lead rose 0.6% to $2,272.5, zinc was 0.9% lower at $3,906 and tin was up 0.7% at $42,025.
* ShFE copper was flat at 73,140 yuan a tonne, lead eased 0.2% to 15,220 yuan, zinc rose 0.9% to 25,595 yuan and tin fell 1% to 338,840 yuan. The most-traded August nickel contract fell 2.4% to 197,460 yuan a tonne .
* The LME three-month nickel contract hit its lower trading limit of 15% on Monday as traders sold on expectations of falling prices for the metal.
* The global nickel market saw a surplus of 6,000 tonnes in January compared with a deficit of 5,300 tonnes in the same period last year, data from the International Nickel Study Group showed on Monday.
* Global primary aluminum output fell to 5.114 million tonnes in February from 5.236 million in the same month in 2021, data from the International Aluminium Institute showed.
* A joint venture between Indonesian state miners Aneka Tambang and Inalum expects a commercial operation delay until at least July 2024 for its $831.5 million alumina smelter.
* Zambia’s Mopani Copper Mines has suspended operations at one of its shafts following an accident in which one person was killed.
* US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Monday the central bank must move “expeditiously” to raise rates and possibly “more aggressively” to keep an upward price spiral from getting entrenched.
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* The yen fell through the psychological 120 level for the first time since 2016, after a hawkish speech from Powell raised bets on higher US interest rates and widened the policy gap on a dovish Bank of Japan.
1100 UK CBI Trends – Orders March
($1 = 6.3644 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)