SHFE base metals prices diverge; copper down on profit-taking

Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) were on divergent paths during Asian morning trading on Wednesday October 25, with copper prices lower as investors took profits.

The most-traded December copper contract on the SHFE stood at 55,170 yuan ($8,316) per tonne as of 04:02 BST, down 310 yuan from Tuesday’s close, with around 167,000 lots of the contract having changed hands so far. Open interest fell to around 201,000 positions at 03:40 BST from 209,484 positions at Wednesday’s close.

The contract rose as high as 55,840 yuan per tonne on Tuesday, the highest since October 16, with observers citing positive sentiment in the market ahead of major industry conferences, stricter regulations over scrap imports in China and lower London Metal Exchange copper stocks as reasons supporting the red metal.

“SHFE copper had climbed on Tuesday on positive outlook for the Chinese economy. But the gains in SHFE copper is likely to be capped by other base metals’ relative lack of strength in price increases and a strong US dollar,” China’s Ruida Futures said late on Tuesday.

In the latest copper data, China imported 290,446 tonnes of refined copper in September, up 19.6% year on year.

China produced 774,000 tonnes of refined copper in September, marking the highest monthly production volume since December 2014. This was 6.8% higher year on year.

Meanwhile, the most-traded December aluminium contract increased 125 yuan to 16,385 yuan per tonne as of 04:02 BST, with close to 203,000 lots of the contracts having traded so far, amid short-covering. Open interest for the contract fell to around 389,000 positions at 03:40 BST, from 408,380 positions at Tuesday’s close.

“We remain positive on the aluminium price on the market balance that will come with China’s winter production cuts,” China’s Minmetals Jingyi Futures noted.

Base metals prices

  • The SHFE December zinc contract price rose 25 yuan to 25,770 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE December lead contract price fell 165 yuan to 19,220 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE January tin contract price dropped 60 yuan to 144,960 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE January nickel contract price gained 560 yuan to 96,950 yuan per tonne


Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index was up 0.01% to 93.95 as of 03:57 BST. The index had risen as high as 94.02 on Monday, the highest since October 6.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price fell 0.29% to $58.35 per barrel at 03:57 BST.
  • In equities, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.23% to 3,395.93.
  • In data on Tuesday, October flash manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) readings from the USA and Europe surprised on the upside. The number was at 54.5 in the USA, above the forecast of 53.3, while the print for Europe was at 58.6, above the expected 57.9.
  • The US Richmond manufacturing index disappointed at 12, below the forecast of 17. In China, the CB leading index month over month in September increased 1%, down from 1.3% in August.
  • Economic data due later today includes the German Ifo business climate, UK preliminary gross domestic product and US data including core durable goods orders, durable goods orders, new home sales and crude oil inventories.

SHFE snapshot at 1102 Shanghai time
Most traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan/t)  Change since yesterday’s close (yuan)
Copper  55,170 -310
Aluminium 16,385 125
Zinc 25,770 25
Lead 19,220 -165
Tin  144,960 -60
Nickel  96,950 560

LME snapshot at 0402 London time
Latest 3M  LME Prices
  Price ($/t)  Change since yesterday’s close ($)
Copper 7,038 2.5
Aluminium 2,163.50 8.5
Lead 2,470.50 2.5
Zinc 3,167.50 -9.5
Tin 19,760 -15
Nickel 12,055 60

Changjiang spot snapshot on October 25
  Range (yuan/t)  Change (yuan)
Copper  55,610-55,630 -460
Aluminium 16,200-16,240 60
Zinc 26,370-26,420 0
Lead 19,600-19,800 -150
Tin  143,500-145,000 -250
Nickel  97,100-97,300 800