Bloomberg News

Zinc Rises as Meteorite Explosion Causes Damage at Russian Plant

February 15, 2013

Zinc rose in London, narrowing this week’s drop, after an exploding meteorite caused damage at a Russian plant producing the metal.

A shock wave caused by the blast destroyed a wall in a concentrate warehouse at the Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant site and smashed windows in other buildings, spokesman Evgeny Ponomarev said today. The plant is working as usual, he said. Chelyabinsk Zinc produced 160,000 metric tons of refined zinc and alloys last year, according to the company website.

“Your immediate knee-jerk reaction is that this is potential supply being taken out of the market,” Nic Brown, head of commodity research at Natixis SA in London, said by phone today. “And then you spend time thinking, ‘How much impact does this have?’”

Zinc for delivery in three months added 0.2 percent to $2,193 a ton by 10:03 a.m. on the London Metal Exchange, paring a climb of as much as 0.9 percent. Prices are down 0.5 percent this week. Copper was little changed at $8,237 a ton and $3.754 a pound for May-delivery metal on the Comex in New York.

Chelyabinsk Zinc is a unit of billionaire Iskandar Makhmudov’s Ural Mining & Metallurgical Co. The meteorite broke apart at about 7:25 a.m. Moscow time, the Emergencies Ministry’s division in the Urals district said today on its website.

Copper headed for a first weekly decline in three after figures this week showed the euro-region economy shrank the most in almost four years in 2012’s final quarter. Inventories of the metal tracked by the LME rose above 400,000 tons for the first time since November 2011 today on deliveries in Malaysia’s Johor and New Orleans, exchange figures showed.

“We do expect the copper market to be moving into surplus at some point this year, but we think it’s a little bit soon to be suggesting that the rise in stockpiles is an indication that it’s already happening,” Brown said.

Inventories gained 0.6 percent to 401,675 tons as orders to draw copper from warehouses fell 1.7 percent to 30,350 tons.

Aluminum, lead, tin and nickel rose in London. Financial markets in China, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metals, are closed this week for the Lunar New Year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at atroszkiewic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


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