The most-traded May nickel contract on the SHFE was at 93,390 yuan ($14,082) per tonne as of 10:45am Shanghai time, down 670 yuan from the previous session’s close with around 585,000 lots changing hands so far.

Open interest of the contract rose to 454,440 positions as at 10:08am Shanghai time, up from 440,942 positions at Thursday’s close as investors opened short positions.

“The weak economic data in China earlier this week has sparked some concerns about demand for stainless steel and nickel in coming months. This was enough for investors to lock in some gains after the 20% rally in prices over the past couple of months,” ANZ Research said on Friday.

“Bearish sentiment in the commodity markets is likely to remain a key driver of prices for the rest of the week,” the bank added.

Meanwhile, the most-traded January copper contract on the SHFE traded at 52,950 yuan per tonne as of 10:45am Shanghai time, up 140 yuan from the previous session’s close, with around 157,000 lots traded so far.

The SHFE copper price saw some support from the recent drop in London Metal Exchange copper stocks - inventories had fallen by a total of 7,250 tonnes over Wednesday and Thursday - but it nonetheless remains some distance from a high of 55,910 yuan per tonne reached on October 16.

The SHFE copper price lacks positive factors to support it in the near term while the drop in SHFE nickel prices has affected sentiment in the base metals market overall, China’s Ruida Futures said late on Thursday.

Rest of complex lower except zinc
  • The most-traded January zinc contract price rose 55 yuan to 25,080 yuan per tonne.
  • The most traded January lead contract price lost 85 yuan to 18,410 yuan per tonne
  • The most-traded January aluminium contract price slipped 5 yuan to 15,475 yuan per tonne.
  • The most-traded January tin contract price dipped 400 yuan to 142,710 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index was down by 0.37% at 93.52 as of 10:31am Shanghai time.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price fell 0.42% to $61.10 per barrel as of 10:32am Shanghai time.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.49% to 3,382.46.
  • In US data on Thursday, weekly unemployment claims came in at 249,000, above the 235,000 forecast. Import prices also disappointed with a 0.2%, below an expected print of 0.4%, and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing index stood at 22.7.
  • Additionally, the capacity utilization rate improved to 77%, besting the estimate of 76.3%. Industrial production month over month ticked up 0.9%, beating the previous release of 0.4%.
  • The economic agenda is light today with mainly US building permits and housing starts of note. European Central Bank president Mario Draghi is also scheduled to speak.

SHFE snapshot at 1045am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
(yuan per tonne)
 Change since yesterday's close
Copper  52,950 140
Aluminium 15,475 -5
Zinc 25,080 55
Lead 18,410 -85
Tin  142,710 -400
Nickel  93,390 -670

LME snapshot at 0245am London time
Latest three-month  LME Prices
($ per tonne)
 Change since yesterday's close
Copper 6,776 39
Aluminium 2,112 10
Lead 2,409 5.5
Zinc 3,153.50 9.5
Tin 19,400 50
Nickel 11,535 185

Changjiang spot snapshot on November 17
(yuan per tonne)
Copper  52,800-52,840 -190
Aluminium 15,230-15,270 -120
Zinc 25,350-25,400 -130
Lead 18,350-18,550 -50
Tin  142,000-144,000 -250
Nickel  92,900-93,200 -1,400