Stocks for other base metals, except copper, posted only modest increases and decreases over the week.

Deliverable lead stocks at SHFE-approved warehouses have risen by 12,709 tonnes, or 76.6%, since January 4 to 29,308 tonnes. This followed an increase of just 773 tonnes one week ago.

This week Zhejiang Tianchuan in Zhejiang Province had 10,142 tonnes of the metal delivered into its warehouse.

Lead stocks rose sharply as a direct result of weak downstream demand ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday on February 4-10.  meanwhile, the soft spot prices have forced producers to deliver the metal into the shreds.

“Some downstream consumers gradually stop production in the run up to the Chinese New Year holiday, therefore, demand is turning weaker,” a trader said.

“Battery makers are bearish towards the lead price outlook, therefore, they only purchase what is necessary for their prompt production,” Citic Futures Research said.

Overall lead prices are generally down this week, despite slight gains on Friday.

The most-traded February lead contract price was 17,485 yuan ($2,575) per tonne at Friday’s close, compared with 17,735 yuan per tonne a week ago.

Copper saw the largest decrease in stocks this week, with 10,911 tonnes of metal leaving SHFE-approved warehouses on Friday leaving the red metal stocks at 97,979 tonnes.

Due to the narrowing of price gap between refined copper and recycled copper, consumers are shifting their procurement to the former, which has resulted in rising demand from the spot market, according to Citic Futures Research.

SHFE copper stocks have been drifting lower since later October and, despite a modest rebound seen at the end of December - which was largely due to the New Year Day holiday - stocks have dropped 34.2% in less than three months.

In addition, the red metal's performance has been disappointing since the start of 2019. The most-traded March copper contract price closed at 47,320 yuan per tonne on Friday, compared with a high of 50,720 yuan on December 3.

SHFE lead, aluminium stocks rise, the rest in decline
 
• SHFE copper stocks dropped 10,911 tonnes to 97,979 tonnes.
• SHFE aluminium stocks ticked up 20,232 tonnes to 692,558 tonnes.
• SHFE zinc stocks lost 956 tonnes to 26,942 tonnes.
• SHFE lead stocks surged 12,709 tonnes to 29,308 tonnes.
• SHFE tin stocks declined 208 tonnes to 8,259 tonnes.
• SHFE nickel stocks dip 415 tonnes to 14,466 tonnes.