The most-traded March aluminium contract on the SHFE stood at 15,180 yuan ($2,350) per tonne as of 11.04am Shanghai time, up by 90 yuan from the previous session’s close. Close to 180,000 lots of the contract have changed hands so far.

Sentiment for the light metal improved late last week after China released positive export data.

“Export data was better than expectations which meant that anti-dumping concerns overseas have yet to affect Chinese aluminium exports. This will help with the consumption of domestic inventory,” China’s Galaxy Futures said in a report late last Friday.

Chinese unwrought aluminium and aluminium products exports reached 440,000 tonnes in December, up by 15.8% month on month and 12.8% year on year.

Exports from China were encouraged by the wide import arbitrage losses between the SHFE and London Metal Exchange, which meant it was profitable for Chinese exporters to ship aluminium products out.

Meanwhile, the most-traded May nickel contract rose by 330 yuan to 99,990 yuan per tonne amid consolidation, with around 565,000 lots traded so far. The contract had had rallied as high as 102,380 yuan per tonne on January 10.

Some long investors continued to enter the market on Monday with open interest of the contract rising to 493,474 positions as at 10.15am Shanghai time, from 481,772 positions at last Friday’s close.

Other metals lower
  • The SHFE March copper contract decreased by 100 yuan to 54,700 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE March zinc contract price eased by 90 yuan to 26,285 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE May tin contract price slipped 100 yuan to 145,300 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE February lead contract dipped by 130 yuan to 19,120 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases
  • The dollar index was down by 0.02% to 90.85 as of 11.02am Shanghai time. The index went as low as 90.77 earlier today, the lowest since December 2014.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price was up by 0.13% to $69.88 per barrel as of 11.01 am Shanghai time.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite was down by 0.02% to 3428.33 as of 11.01 am Shanghai time.
  • In US data on Friday, the consumer price index (CPI) and the core CPI in December rose by 0.1% and 0.3% respectively. Retail sales and core retail sales also increased 0.4% in December.
  • The economic agenda is light today, particularly with US markets closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.
  • A slew of Chinese data including foreign direct investment, gross domestic product, industrial production, fixed asset investment and retail data are due this later week. Data of note from the United States this week includes building permits and unemployment claims.

SHFE snapshot at 11.04am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session's close (yuan)
Copper (March) 54,700 -100
Aluminium (March) 15,180 90
Zinc (March) 26,285 -90
Lead (February) 19,120 -130
Tin  (May) 145,300 -100
Nickel  (May) 99,900 330

LME snapshot at 03.04am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session's close ($)
Copper 7,195 85
Aluminium 2,238 24
Lead 2,557.50 22.5
Zinc 3,415 31.5
Tin 20,290 15
Nickel 12,835 110