EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEF 02/04: SHFE base metals prices higher on China PMI data; softness seen in US ali scrap market; global billet wrap

Good morning from Metal Bulletin’s office in Singapore as we bring you the latest news and pricing stories on Monday April 2.

Base metals traded on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were all higher during Asian morning trading but gains were somewhat limited in some of the metals following the release of two sets of Chinese manufacturing data showing mixed results.

China’s Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for March came in at 51 on Monday, which was below an expected print of 51.8, but still above 50. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while below signals contraction.

But data released on March 31 showed China’s official manufacturing PMI rose to 51.1 in March, up from 50.3 a month earlier. The reading was the highest so far this year and also beat an expected print of 50.1.

The most-traded copper contract on the SHFE was at 50,210 yuan ($7,994) per tonne as of 10.56am Shanghai time, up by 30 yuan per tonne from Friday’s closing price. Around 124,000 lots of the contract have traded so far.

Check Metal Bulletin’s live futures report here.

SHFE snapshot at 10.56am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session’s close (yuan)
Copper (May) 50,210 30
Aluminium (May) 13,870 100
Zinc (May) 24,970 25
Lead (May) 18,855 30
Tin  (May) 145,260 580
Nickel (July) 100,400 600

Changjiang spot snapshot on April 2
  Range (yuan per tonne) Change (yuan)
Copper  50,100-50,120 330
Aluminium 13,710-13,750 90
Zinc 24,910-24,960 170
Lead 18,900-19,100 200
Tin  144,000-145,500 2,000
Nickel  99,800-100,300 1,400

Some aluminium scrap grades are showing signs of softening in the United States after consumers have pulled back prices due to adequate inventory positions and scrap flows.

Billet prices in the global markets except India continued to fall during the work week from Monday March 26 to Friday March 30 due to negative sentiment caused by the uncertainty over the United States’ Section 232 tariffs.

East China’s Shagang has reduced the prices for its long steel products for shipment in early April in the wake of a weakening spot market.

Deliverable lead stocks at SHFE-bonded warehouses decreased by 3,302 tonnes or 12.5% to 23,041 tonnes last week. Inventories of the other base metals, with the exception of aluminium, were similarly lower.

Metal Bulletin is hosting a free web seminar on Thursday April 5 at 9am London time to discuss the key drivers of the battery raw materials markets, including substitution risk, electric vehicle policy, and supply of lithium, nickel and cobalt. Click here to register.

And in case you missed it, be sure to check out Metal Bulletin’s latest weekly China minor metals report.