Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange are off to a mixed start this week, with nickel prices leading on the upside with a gain of 1%, while zinc, copper and lead prices are little changed and tin and aluminium prices are down by 0.5% and 0.9% respectively.

Firm demand from China’s stainless steel sector is lending support to nickel prices this morning, with the most-traded SHFE May nickel contract trading at 99,800 yuan ($15,854) per tonne as of 10.00 am Shanghai time, up by 1,030 yuan per tonne compared with last Friday’s close.

Check Metal Bulletin's live futures report here.

LME snapshot at 02.00 am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices

Price ($ per tonne)  Change since yesterday's close ($)
Copper 6,841 86
Aluminium 2,127 4
Lead 2,531.5 -2.5
Zinc 3,408 23
Tin 21,190 165
Nickel 13,105 135

SHFE snapshot at 10.00 am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts

Price (yuan per tonne)  Change since yesterday's close (yuan)
Copper (April) 51,500 -60
Aluminium (March) 14,060 -125
Zinc(April) 26,120 0
Lead(March) 19,075 35
Tin (May) 146,510 -690
Nickel (May) 99,800 1,030

Negotiations between zinc miners and smelters during the International Zinc Association conference in Carlsbad, in the US state of California, promise to be particularly lively this year - given mixed market outlooks and an uncertain supply picture.

US secondary aluminium scrap prices have diverged when some nudged higher as a spate of winter weather and lingering trucking issues weigh on scrap flows, while mill-grade scrap pricing dipped in line with declines on the London Metal Exchange.

China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd is on the offensive following the recent revelation that United States-based investment research firm Muddy Waters Research was the author of the widely cited Dupré Analytics report that accused the company of perpetrating a global aluminium transshipment fraud.

The US aluminium foundry premium has stayed flat again this month, while premiums in Germany and Eastern Europe slipped.

Bikram Singh, the former head of metal concentrates trading at MRI Trading AG, has set up a new trading venture named Axaya AG, according to sources and regulatory filings.

In minor metals, antimony prices climbed amid tightened availability, while cadmium prices continued to tick higher. Click here for Metal Bulletin’s full minor metals report.