(MB) Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were broadly up during Asian morning trading on Friday, with the complex supported by fresh buying amid a weaker dollar and easing trade tensions between the United States and China. Benchmark alumina prices have seen a steep decline this week for the first time since May, after a number of cargoes were reported to have traded at lower levels. Ferro-nickel has lost competitiveness against stainless steel scrap and nickel pig iron (NPI) as a raw material input for stainless steel, according to Frank Ehrenberg, senior vp for raw materials procurement at Finnish steelmaker Outokumpu. Copper and brass scrap markets in the United States have been on mostly steady footing throughout the week, although increased competition from offshore consumers combined with mixed availability for higher-grade items has helped tighten some discounts. European ferro-vanadium prices have surged above $100 per kg for the first time since 2005, with the price increase driven by low availabilty of stocks among traders in the region.  And in case you missed it, be sure to check out the latest list of events and functions scheduled for London Metal Exchange Week, the largest annual gathering of metals and mining figures in the world.

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