(MB) Base metals prices were down across the board during Asian morning trading on Wednesday, with copper leading the losses following a sharp increase in red metal stocks on the London Metal Exchange overnight. LME copper inventories increased a net 36,300 tonnes to 248,075 tonnes on Tuesday, hitting their highest since October 20, 2017. The cheapest offers for cobalt units dried up last week with spot material in tight supply, while some potential buyers put purchases on hold with international prices at high levels. The copper market in the United States is consistently receiving signs that the industry overall is healthier than it has been over the past few years and that demand could spark a rise in premiums. The gap between premiums for nickel briquettes and 4×4 cut cathodes in the United States has widened further over the past few months, resulting in expansive melting-grade premiums that encompass both shapes. Novelis Inc has earmarked $300 million to build a greenfield automotive aluminium sheet rolling mill in Guthrie, in the US state of Kentucky, the company said on Tuesday January 23. Some secondary aluminium alloy prices in the United States have been pushed higher by a combination of elevated raw material costs and transportation-related issues.