The most-traded June lead contract on the SHFE traded at 20,210 yuan ($3,164) per tonne as at 10.37am Shanghai time, up by 385 yuan or 1.9% from Monday’s close. Around 81,594 lots of the contract have changed hands so far this morning.

Overnight, the LME’s three-month lead price surged 3.3% and broke through the $2,400-per-tonne mark – this despite continued strength in the dollar.

Robust demand from China’s automobile sector and ongoing environmental constraints on the country’s domestic lead production continue to lend support to lead prices.

China’s vehicle sales volumes rose 11.5% year on year to 2.32 million units in April, according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on May 11.

“Authorities are clamping down on recycling plants in China, which are the source of nearly 60% of lead. The closures come amid a widening import arbitrage into China and falling inventories on both the LME and SHFE,” ANZ Research noted on Tuesday.

Lead stocks at SHFE warehouses declined 5,185 tonnes last week to reach a total of 15,458 tonnes as at May 18. Meanwhile, LME lead stocks dipped 459 tonnes to 133,275 tonnes on Monday.

The metal’s prices have also been buoyed by the shuttering of Chinese lead mines and smelters, notably in Anhui and Hunan provinces after China’s President Xi Jinping’s recent push to improve the country’s environment.

The other SHFE base metals were broadly lower, with only copper managing to eke out slight gains, while nickel was little changed.

Base metals prices
  • The SHFE July copper contract price edged up 100 yuan per tonne to 51,470 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE July zinc contract price decreased 120 yuan per tonne to 23,835 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE September nickel contract price was up 20 yuan per tonne to 108,870 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE September tin contract price dipped 130 yuan per tonne to 146,090 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE July aluminium contract price was down 20 yuan per tonne to 14,745 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases
  • The dollar index was up 0.06% at 93.58 as at 12.04pm Shanghai time.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price decreased 0.06% to $79.34 per barrel, and the Texas light sweet crude oil spot price was down 0.05% to $72.47 as at 10.40 am Shanghai time.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.4% to 3,201.11 as at 11.30 am Shanghai time.
  • It is a light day for data today with UK public sector net borrowing, inflation report hearings and CBI industrial order expectations. China’s CB leading index and the United States’ Richmond manufacturing index are also due.

LME snapshot at 02.37am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne) Change since yesterday's close ($)
Copper 6,885 6
Aluminium 2,269.50 -10.5
Lead 2,418.50 8.5
Zinc 3,083.50 -20.5
Tin 20,740 40
Nickel 14,675 0
SHFE snapshot at 10.37am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne) Change since yesterday's close (yuan)
Copper (June) 51,470 100
Aluminium (June) 14,745 -20
Zinc (June) 23,835 -120
Lead (June) 20,210 385
Tin  (July) 146,090 -130
Nickel  (September) 108,870 20
Changjiang spot snapshot on May 22
  Range (yuan per tonne) Change (yuan)
Copper  51,270—51,310 80
Aluminium 14,600—14,640 -40
Zinc 24,140—25,140 -160
Lead 20,100—20,300 400
Tin  144,000—145,500 0
Nickel  108,900—109,000 450