Lead and zinc prices were the laggards, both little changed with a slightly weaker bias, while copper led the rest of the complex higher.

The most-traded May copper contract on the SHFE stood at 49,640 yuan ($7,891) per tonne as of 10.30am Shanghai time, up by 380 yuan or 0.8% from Wednesday close.

US fourth-quarter final gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed analysts’ expectations overnight with growth of 2.9% - slightly quicker than the forecast growth of 2.7%.

The reading, which indicated the US economy was on steady footing heading into the current quarter, allayed fears of a slowdown in global economic growth and provided some support to the base metals complex.

Meanwhile, a continued winding down of geopolitical tensions also saw investors’ appetite for the metals pick up, with the easier environment spurring participants to take advantage of the metals’ relatively lower prices.

Base metals prices

  • The SHFE May tin contract price edged 90 yuan higher to 140,780 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE May aluminium contract price rose 105 yuan to 13,845 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE July nickel increased 170 yuan to 96,770 yuan per tonne.
  • Nickel prices received support from news that the Philippines that the country had again delayed its review on the suspension or possible closure of 26 mines.
  • “Confusion remains in the Philippines concerning the review of 26 mines whose closure or suspended production was ordered last year by the then environment minister. According to the latest reports, the review could still take several more months, with no result expected before August,” said Commerzbank Research.
  • The SHFE May zinc contract price was down 15 yuan to 24,790 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE May lead contract price inched 5 yuan lower to 18,640 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index was down by 0.08% to 90.0 as of 11.20am Shanghai time - the index hit a low of 88.98 on Monday, which was its lowest since February 19.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price decreased by 1.32% to $68.90 per barrel, and the Texas light sweet crude oil spot price was down by 0.25% to $64.54.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite was little changed at 3,122.65 as of 11.22am Shanghai time.
  • In US data on Wednesday, US final fourth-quarter GDP came in at 2.9%, above the forecast of 2.7%. The final GDP price index was in line with expectations at 2.3%, while wholesale inventories ticked up 1.1% in February.
  • The economic agenda is busy today with a host of data from the United Kingdom including current account, final GDP and net lending to individuals of note. US data out later includes core PCE price index, personal spending, unemployment claims, the Chicago purchasing managers’ index, revised University of Michigan consumer sentiment and inflation expectations and natural gas storage.

LME snapshot at 03.32 London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne)  Change since yesterday's close ($)
Copper 6,678 13
Aluminium 20,38.5 11.5
Lead 24,10.5 -14.5
Zinc 3,280 -4
Tin 20,805 -85
Nickel 13,040 -90

SHFE snapshot at 10.32am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne)  Change since yesterday's close (yuan)
Copper (May) 49,640 380
Aluminium (May)
13,845 105
Zinc (May)
24,790 -15
Lead (May)
18,640 -5
Tin (May) 140,780 90
Nickel  (July)
96,770 170

Changjiang spot snapshot on March 29
  Range (yuan per tonne)  Change (yuan)
Copper  49,520—49,540 320
Aluminium 13,700—13,740 80
Zinc 24,810—25,610 -170
Lead 18,700—18,900 0
Tin  141,500—143,000 -250
Nickel  96,400—97,000 -450