The most-traded July aluminium contract on the SHFE traded at 14,780 ($2,322) yuan per tonne as at 11.17 am Shanghai time, inching up 45 yuan per tonne from Monday’s close.

This is unsurprising given the escalating trade tensions between the United States and China, which saw the latter last week slap a one-month ban on non-ferrous scrap imports from the US.

Chinese aluminium alloy producers have forecast imminent price rises for their products in response to the ban.

A US delegation had traveled to Beijing last week to quell a potential trade dispute between the two nations, but after two days of discussions that ended last Friday, there was no public sign of an agreement.

In wider markets, investors will likely be keeping a close eye on US President Donald Trump’s decision on whether the US will pull out of the Iran nuclear accord.

“This is ahead of the May 12th official deadline for re-ratification of the existing deal which dropped sanctions against Iran in return for verifiable cessation of nuclear weapons development, allowing Iran to pump as much as one million more barrels of oil a day than previously,” ANZ Research said on Tuesday.

The London Metal Exchange reopens today after being closed on Monday due to national holidays.

Base metals prices
  • The SHFE July zinc contract price strengthened 80 yuan per tonne to 23,910 yuan per tonne.
  • “Zinc prices pushed higher as investors become increasingly confident of a positive outlook for the sector,” ANZ Research noted on Tuesday.
  • Zinc miner MMG said that it remains positive on the long term fundamentals of the metal, and recently announced that its Dugald River mine has achieved commercial production.
  • The SHFE July copper contract rose 130 yuan per tonne to 51,470 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE June lead contract price increased 80 yuan per tonne to 18,945 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE Sept tin contract price fell 890 yuan per tonne to 146,550 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE July nickel contract price jumped 1,170 yuan per tonne to 105,730 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases
  • The dollar index edged up 0.18% at 92.75 as at 11.17 am Shanghai time. The index had reached a high of 92.98 on Monday – its highest since late December 2017.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price climbed 0.76% to $75.51 per barrel as at 11.17 am Shanghai.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite grew 0.91% to 3,165.08 as at 11.47am Shanghai time.
  • In data released earlier today, Australian retails sales were unchanged in March – an increase of 0.2% had been called for. China's April trade balance was a positive $28.78 billion versus a forecast positive $27.5 billion.
  • Later there is the Jolts job openings and IBD/TIPP economic from the US.
  • In addition, US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell and US President Trump are speaking.

LME snapshot at 04.17am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session's close ($)
Copper 6,856 -30
Aluminium 2,355 5
Lead 2,332 14
Zinc 3,109 53.5
Tin 21,065 -165
Nickel 14,060 35

SHFE snapshot at 11.17am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session's close (yuan)
Copper (June) 51,470 130
Aluminium (July) 14,780 45
Zinc (July) 23,910 80
Lead (June) 18,945 80
Tin  (Sept) 146,550 -890
Nickel  (July) 105,730 1,170

Changjiang spot snapshot on May 8
  Range (yuan per tonne) Change (yuan)
Copper  51,040-51,060 80
Aluminium 14,620-14,660 120
Zinc 23,980-24,030 30
Lead 18,900-19,100 50
Tin  144,000-146,500 -500
Nickel  104,700-105,100 100