(MB) Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were broadly down during Asian morning trading on Friday April 20, the exception being tin, which was marginally up on supply concerns due to export issues in Indonesia. Aluminium and nickel have undergone a particularly steep pullback this morning following strong gains throughout the past week, sparked by supply concerns following the United States’ imposition of sanctions on Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska’s assets, including UC Rusal. This had in turn led to concerns in the nickel market due to Deripaska’s Rusal holding a 27.8% stake in Norilsk. But the sanction-driven rally in nickel has seemingly run out of fuel with no signs yet of further US sanctions and a statement from Norilsk that it was “business as usual”, according to Sucden Financial. Meanwhile, aluminium’s recent run of strength also suffered a setback following reports that the Russian government was considering coming to the aid of Rusal, ANZ Research said. Adding further downside pressure to light metal prices was the news that Rusal officials were said to have met with Chinese companies and traders this week to discuss the possibility of buying alumina and selling aluminum in the Asian country. Conditions in the aluminium market remain “nervous and choppy amid the overhanging uncertainty and with short-term direction likely to be headline driven,” Sucden Financial added. The weaker tone in aluminium and nickel prices has spilled over into the rest of the complex this morning, but tin prices were in positive territory, albeit marginally, on supply concerns stemming from export issues in Indonesia.Indonesia’s PT Timah, the world’s third largest tin smelter and the largest supplier of 99.9% consumer grade tin to the physical market, has not exported tin since March 20 due to an impasse over permitting, an informed source at the company told Metal Bulletin.


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