The most-traded March aluminium contract on the SHFE stood at 14,870 yuan ($2,309) per tonne as of 11.10am Shanghai time, down by 260 yuan from the previous session’s close. Close to 249,066 lots of the contract have changed hands so far.

The fall in contract prices was expected as there is currently a lot of inventory in North China, according to a Beijing-based analyst.

This has been exacerbated by the ample supply due to the high production rates at smelters, which has put downward pressure on prices.

“Factories have not lowered their operating rates - as is the expectation around this time of year as [Chinese New Year] is in mid-February - causing prices to have fallen,” the analyst said.

Meanwhile, the most traded May tin contract on the SHFE rose 160 yuan to 145,000 yuan, bucking the downward trend seen in the other metals.

Domestic supply of tin ingots in China is reportedly tight due to smelters being affected by ongoing environmental inspections in the country.

“The influence on downstream producers is okay but [environmental inspections] have affected smelting work a lot,” a trader in Zhejiang told Metal Bulletin.

Other metals lower

  • The SHFE March copper contract decreased by 380 yuan to 54,610 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE March zinc contract price eased by 275 yuan to 26,085 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE May nickel contract price fell by 2,050 yuan to 98,160 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE February lead contract dipped by 170 yuan to 19,015 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases
  • The dollar index was up by 0.03% to 90.49 as of 11.21am Shanghai time. The index went as low as 90.28 on Monday, the lowest since December 2014.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price was down by 0.25% to $70.02 per barrel as of 11.21 am Shanghai time.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite was down by 0.27% to 3419.53 as of 11.23 am Shanghai time.
  • The economic agenda is thin today with mainly the US Empire State Manufacturing Index and the UK’s consumer price index of note.
  • A slew of Chinese data including foreign direct investment, gross domestic product, industrial production, fixed asset investment and retail data are due later this week.

SHFE snapshot at 11.28am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session's close (yuan)
Copper (March) 54,610 -380
Aluminium (February) 14,785 -255
Zinc (March) 26,085 -275
Lead (February) 19,010 -175
Tin  (May) 145,000 160
Nickel  (May) 98,160 -2,050

LME snapshot at 03.28am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session's close ($)
Copper 7,188 -22
Aluminium 2,213 -14
Lead 2,563 -24
Zinc 3,396 -27
Tin 20,305 5
Nickel 12,600 -230

Changjiang spot snapshot on January 16 2018
  Range (yuan per tonne) Change (yuan)
Copper  54,520-54,540 190
Aluminium 14,690-14,730 -230
Zinc 26,210-27,010 -50
Lead 19,000-19,200 -50
Tin  144,000-145,500 250
Nickel  98,750-99,150 -350