With China on holiday from 29th April till 1st May for the Labour Day holiday, trading on LME markets has been thin, lacking any of real direction. As China is the largest consumer of copper in the world, one trader was apparently noted as saying “With top consumer China on holiday, you can hear a pin drop in the copper market, preliminary data show Comex futures on track for the lowest trading volume this month, and the benchmark contract spends virtually the entire floor trading session within a penny of unchanged.”

With that said, the trade that we have seen in the past few days has been mostly in positive territory although the gains have been slightly reduced with the strength of the Australian dollar, currently trading over 1.041.

**** China to close 8.5 mln tonnes of steel, copper capacity in 2012 ****

BEIJING, April 26 (Reuters) – China aims to shut down 7.8 million tonnes of steelmaking capacity and 700,000 tonnes of copper smelting capacity this year, the industry ministry said on Thursday, as part of its efforts to reduce pollution. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement that it also aims to close 270,000 tonnes of aluminium capacity in 2012

**** Vale to Redesign Giant Ore Ships to Protect Crews From Pirates ****

Vale SA (VALE5), the world’s second-largest mining company, plans to change designs for some of its new iron-ore ships, the biggest ever built, to include safe rooms protecting crews against hijackings by Somali pirates.  Some ships will have purpose-built emergency strongrooms, known as citadels, where crews can await rescue if pirates board the vessels, Peter Kavanagh, company security officer for Rio de Janeiro-based Vale, said on the sidelines of a Hanson Wade conference in Hamburg yesterday. Vale is the world’s biggest producer of iron ore, a steelmaking raw material.

Pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and off Somalia, an area larger than Europe, jumped almost fivefold between 2007 and 2011 to a record 236, according to the London- based International Maritime Bureau. Ship owners need to strengthen citadels on existing vessels because pirates can too often shoot through their doors and windows, Kavanagh said. “We’re the only company I know of that’s doing it,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people are there yet. It’s too easy to call something a citadel when it really isn’t.”

Vale, which already owns and operates 52 vessels, is building 35 of the world’s biggest iron-ore carriers, of which it will own 18. The redesign will apply to those company-owned vessels yet to be delivered, according to Kavanagh. Some of the ships cross the Indian Ocean to Oman to deliver the raw material to a pelletizing plant, he said.


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