Nickel cathode premiums in Shanghai are trading at all-time highs while production cuts at major Chinese smelters this year have begun to bite into the fourth quarter, China import premiums for copper and zinc also firmed.
Wide contangos are supporting copper and aluminium premiums with some holders preferring to participate in carry trades rather than sell physical, but a strong backwardation on zinc has restricted buying.
“Mating season” is kicking off and market participants have started discussions for annual or long term supply in 2018; regional fundamentals are starting to come to the fore while freight rates continue to rise globally.
Meanwhile in Japan, major metals consumer Kobe Steel discovered a portion of its aluminium and copper products were sold to customers when they did not comply with the product specifications previously agreed between the company and its customers, it announced on Sunday. Spot market demand is yet to be affected.
Nickel premiums take...