The most-traded March aluminium contract on the SHFE stood at 14,730 yuan ($2,292) per tonne as of 10:56am Shanghai time, up by 110 yuan from the previous session’s close. Close to 167,000 lots of the contract have changed hands so far.

Aluminium prices were higher after data showed a slight moderation in Chinese output, analysts with ANZ Research noted on Friday.

“With winter curbs taking effect, production in December fell 1.8% year on year to 2.71 million tonnes,” the analysts said.

Further support for the light metal was seen in the positive macro-backdrop stemming from the better-than-expected data released from China on Thursday.

China’s gross domestic product grew 6.8% in the fourth quarter of 2017 from a year earlier, slightly above the expected 6.7%, while industrial production for December was also better than expected at 6.2%. Fixed asset investment was unchanged at 7.2%, while retail sales disappointed with growth in December unexpectedly slowing to 9.4%.

The faster-than-expected growth in the Chinese economy has allayed concerns in the market that intensifying curbs on industry and credit in the country would hurt economic expansion.

Leading on the downside this morning were nickel prices, which have come under pressure amid concerns over rising Indonesian production of nickel pig iron, a low-quality alternative to the refined metal, according to John Meyer from SP Angel.

The most-traded May nickel contract on the SHFE fell by 700 yuan to 96,080 yuan, with 547,120 lots changing hands so far.

Base metals prices
  • The SHFE March copper contract dipped by 20 yuan to 53,650 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE March zinc contract price eased by 20 yuan to 25,975 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE March lead contract leapt by 155 yuan to 19,485 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE May tin contract price climbed by 780 yuan to 144,550 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases
  • The dollar index was down by 0.03% at 90.49 as of 10.44am Shanghai time.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price was unchanged at $69.10 per barrel as of 10:45 am Shanghai time.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite was up by 0.4% to 3488.56 as of 10.41 am Shanghai time.
  • In US data on Thursday, building permits in December came in at 1.30 million, above the forecast of 1.29 million. Housing starts stood at 1.19 million, while weekly unemployment claims improved over the previous figure at 220,000. Finally, the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index in January was 22.2.
  • Today’s economic agenda is light today with UK retail sales and the preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment and inflation expectations from the United States of note.
  • In addition, US Federal Open Market Committee member Randal Quarles is speaking.

SHFE snapshot at 10.56am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session's close (yuan)
Copper (March) 53,650 -20
Aluminium (March) 14,730 110
Zinc (March) 25,975 -20
Lead (February) 19,485 155
Tin  (May) 144,550 780
Nickel  (May) 96,080 -700

LME snapshot at 03.13am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session's close ($)
Copper 7,093 16.5
Aluminium 2,197 -6
Lead 2,600 -10.5
Zinc 3,384 7.5
Tin 20,470 40
Nickel 12,370 -100

Changjiang spot snapshot on January 18
  Range (yuan per tonne) Change (yuan)
Copper  53,420-53,440 -90
Aluminium 14,440-14,480 30
Zinc 25,930-25,980 -20
Lead 19,300-19,500 200
Tin  143,000-145,000 0
Nickel  95,650-96,050 -900