Heightened trade and political tensions have been a feature of the markets over the past couple of months, with April being no exception, leading to on-going price volatility across the LME base metals complex. We are forecasting a further 2.1% increase in global refined consumption to 23.5Mt in 2018 after an estimated 2.1% advance to 23.0Mt in 2017. Growth in refined cathode consumption was constrained in 2017 as consumers were able to benefit from healthy scrap flows. Although China remains central to our forecast, we expect a better contribution from other regions in the coming years. The spread between mine to trader and Chinese smelter buying widened significantly during April, with particularly sharp terms agreed by merchants for deliveries through 2019. Traders reported a relatively quiet market in April, but of the tenders we have heard about during the month, all were settled at lower levels relative to those in March.