Tin was the laggard, however, with its prices weakening slightly.

The June copper contract price on the SHFE stood at 51,880 yuan ($8,239) per tonne as of 10.12 am Shanghai time, up by 0.9% or 480 yuan from last Friday’s close.

“Copper has been supported by the seasonal pick-up in demand typically seen in China during the second quarter of the year. In addition, the tightened supply of raw materials amid China’s ban on copper scrap imports since the start of the year has also been supportive,” a Shanghai-based analyst said.

Meanwhile, China’s demand for refined copper should remain supported by the government’s restriction on copper scrap imports. China’s customs show that imports of unwrought copper rose 7.3% on an annual basis in the first of quarter 2018, in contrast with a drop of 20% year on year in the first quarter of 2017.

Declining exchange inventories are also providing support for the red metal.

Deliverable copper stocks at SHFE-approved warehouses fell by 6.8% or 19,093 tonnes week on week as of last Friday to 261,743 tonnes. Stocks are now down 44,468 tonnes or 15% so far in April.

London Metal Exchange stocks – at 353,375 tonnes as of April 19 – are down approximately 30,000 tonnes or 8% so far in April.

Base metals prices
  • The SHFE June zinc contract price surged 150 yuan to 24,545 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE June lead contract price was up 70 yuan to 18,395 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE July nickel contract price rose 740 yuan to 105,000 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE June aluminium contract price inched up 20 yuan to 14,985 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE September tin contract price dipped 90 yuan to 148,390 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index was up by 0.05% to 90.40 as of 11.38 am Shanghai time.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price increased by 0.44% to $73.94 per barrel, and the Texas light sweet crude oil spot price was up by 0.29% to $68.22.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.11% to 3,068.28 as of 11.30 am Shanghai time.
  • In data today, there is a host of manufacturing and services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) releases due out across Europe and the United States. Other data of note from the US includes existing home sales.

LME snapshot at 03.11 am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne)  Change since yesterday's close ($)
Copper 7,016.50 24.5
Aluminium 2,504.50 477.5
Lead 2,345 -20
Zinc 3,258 25.5
Tin 21,615 -110
Nickel 14,810 -20

SHFE snapshot at 10.12 am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne)  Change since Friday's close (yuan)
Copper  51,880 480
Aluminium 14,985 30
Zinc 24,545 150
Lead 18,395 70
Tin  148,390 -90
Nickel  105,000 740

Changjiang spot snapshot on April 23
  Range (yuan per tonne)  Change (yuan)
Copper  51,980—52,000 340
Aluminium 14,930—14,970 70
Zinc 24,880—25,880 80
Lead 18,450—18,650 50
Tin  146,000—147,500 0
Nickel  104,850—105,150 -300