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Non-ferrous metals - UK market overview - July 2012

The fallout from ongoing talks surrounding EU debt restructuring and possible bailout options continued to pile on the pressure for the majority of the primary metals.  

Even with the news that China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for July beat predicted forecasts, heavy ‘safe haven’ selling dominated the London Metal Exchange (LME).

LME copper prices fell to near three- week lows and scrap prices tracked closely behind. As MRW went to press, scrap copper had come off by £150 per tonne, while brass and gunmetal grades reported a £50 per tonne reduction.

While aluminium scrap prices remained flat, they are still too high for some die casters. In contrast, orders for ingots are reportedly buoyant, with good demand from domestic markets.

For nickel, LME prices hit three-year lows of around $17,520 per tonne. Scrap nickel prices remained relatively stable, but the seasonal shutdowns will temper the amount of metal available to the market. Merchants suggest that, even in the quieter summer period, the tightness of material is likely to nudge prices up, though not greatly.

Tin continues to plot a downward course, with prices on the LME falling to near 10-month lows. This took the 99% tin price down £546 to £9,896 per tonne. White metals overall remain under pressure as solder prices fell by an average of £440 per tonne. Mixed pewter posted the strongest loss, down on last month by £809 to £4,771 per tonne.

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