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ICBC Standard abandons plan to close base metals business

ICBC Standard Bank PLC has decided against closing its base metals business and is instead looking to merge it with its precious metals unit to cut costs, Reuters reported, citing an email statement by the bank.

The bank was considering shutting down its base metals and equities businesses due to "unfavorable market conditions" but changed its strategy after majority shareholder, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., raised objections about the decision to close the base metals unit, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter and per a Dec. 9 staff memo seen by Reuters.

ICBC Standard's trade finance and base metals business were what initially attracted the Chinese development bank when it bought into the joint venture in 2015, the report said, adding that the bank still intends to close its equities business and take other measures to reduce costs and headcount.