Copper Closes Down As Markets Fret Over China (Dow Jones) LONDON (Dow Jones)–Copper closed lower on the London Metal Exchange Monday after China cut its growth target to the lowest level since 2004, sparking concerns of a further slowdown in demand from the world’s largest consumer of the red metal.

Base metal prices slid into the red after Premier Wen Jiabao lowered the nation’s growth target for 2012, to 7.5% from the 8% expansion aimed in recent years. Market participants fear a noticeable slowdown in the world’s second largest economy and raised concerns the move could prompt consumers there to delay any purchasing decisions. Industrial metals are widely used in manufacturing and construction.

The comments come at a time of “very, very slow” physical demand for metals and persistent concerns over low consumption rates in China, a Singapore-based trader said.

Nickel’s price decline seen continuing By Eric Lam, Financial Post March 5, 2012 TORONTO – The five-year losing streak for nickel prices is likely to continue for at least one more year, as several major long-delayed projects come online potentially flooding the market with excess supply, research firm Wood Mackenzie said Monday.

Andrew Mitchell, principal nickel analyst with the U.K.-based energy and metals research firm, said he forecasts about 25,000 metric tonnes of surplus in 2012, pushing prices to $8.38 US a pound on the year

(as Australian steelmaking declines)

Korean steelmaker to double billet output, raise exports (SBB)

Korea’s Hamyang Steel Co (Hamsco) expects to nearly double its billet output to 20,000-25,000 tonnes/month and increase export shipments when it formally commissions a new 50-tonne electric arc furnace later this year.

Hamsco, based in Hamyang county, west of Busan, expects to start testing the new unit from 12 March, Steel Business Briefing learns from the company. Its current billet output is 12,000 t/m. With additional billet output Hamsco expects to almost double its export tonnage, though a timetable for this has not been decided. Since late last year the steelmaker has been exporting some 5,000 t/m of billet to the Philippines. “We are targeting lifting this to around 10,000 t/m,” the company official says.


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