Zinc prices led the decline on the back of the weakness seen on the London Metal Exchange on Monday, following a surge of the material entering LME warehouses in the US port of New Orleans.

The most-traded May zinc contract on the SHFE decreased to 25,325 yuan ($3,993) per tonne as of 10.00am Shanghai time, down by 325 yuan or 1.3% from the previous day’s close of 25,650 yuan per tonne.

Some 78,950 tonnes were delivered into LME-approved warehouses in New Orleans on Monday - the largest inflow since July 2013, increasing on-warrant stock levels by 94%.

And it is not just the LME which has seen a significant increase in stock levels in recent days; SHFE zinc stocks climbed 31% or 35,664 tonnes last week to reach 150,551 tonnes as of March 2 amid reduced demand from galvanizers due to environmental restrictions.

The three-month zinc price on the LME fell to a two-month low of $3,273.50 per tonne during trading on Monday and was still $59 lower at $3,296 at the 5pm London close.

“[The surges in stock levels] have elevated market participants’ concerns about how much hidden inventory there is in the market, especially after the supply tightness seen in 2017,” a Shenzhen-based trader told Metal Bulletin.

“Many market participants are now going short in the zinc market and today in the domestic spot market, some stockholders have lowered their prices sell off more stock,” the trader added.

Prices for zinc’s sister metal lead were also weaker during morning trade on Tuesday. The SHFE April lead contract price dropped by 210 yuan or 1.1% to 18,540 yuan per tonne.

Tin prices dip; other metals higher up
  • The SHFE May tin contract price decreased by 310 yuan or 0.2% to 147,100 yuan per tonne.
  • The most-traded May nickel contract on the SHFE rose by 900 yuan or 0.9% to 102,340 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE May copper contract price increased by 290 yuan or 0.6% to 52,410 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE May aluminium contract price went up by 65 yuan or 0.5% to 14,360 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases
  • The dollar index was down 0.05% at 89.96 as of 11.00am Shanghai time.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price was up by 0.08% to $65.64 per barrel as of 11.00am Shanghai time.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite was down by 0.2% to 3,250.51 as of 11.04am Shanghai time.
  • In data on Monday, China’s Caixin services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) was 54.2, slightly weaker than the expected 54.3 and lower than the previous reading of 54.7.
  • In data today, EU retail PMI and US factory orders are of note.
  • In addition, US Federal Open Market Committee members William Dudley and Lael Brainard and UK Monetary Policy Committee member Andy Haldane are speaking.

LME snapshot at 02.00am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
Price ($ per tonne)  Change since yesterday's close ($)
Copper 6,937.5 27.5
Aluminium 2,144.5 -1
Lead 2,411.5 -13.5
Zinc 3,297 1
Tin / /
Nickel 13,465 35

SHFE snapshot at 10.00am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
Price (yuan per tonne)  Change since yesterday's close (yuan)
Copper (May) 52,410 290
Aluminium(May) 14,360 65
Zinc(May) 25,325 -325
Lead(April) 18,540 -210
Tin (May) 147,100 -310
Nickel (May) 102,340 900

Changjiang spot snapshot on March 6
Range (yuan per tonne)  Change (yuan)
Copper  51,850-51,870 90
Aluminium 14,050-14,090 120
Zinc 25,380-26,180 -550
Lead 18,550-18,750 -250
Tin  145,000-147,000 -500
Nickel  101,750-102,050 -1,000