EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEF 04/04: SHFE base metals prices broadly lower; USTR proposes tariffs on Chinese products under Section 301; global aluminium premiums

Good morning from Metal Bulletin’s office in Singapore as we bring you the latest news and pricing stories on Wednesday April 4.

Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, with the exception of copper and tin, were all lower during Asian morning trading on Wednesday after fears over a global trade war and weak Chinese data dampened market sentiment.

On Tuesday, the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) released a proposed tariff list of Chinese products on which the United States is targeting with a 25% import tax following its Section 301 investigation.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday that the US’ proposed 25% import tax on Chinese exports is “typical unilaterism and trade protectionism” and that “China strongly condemns and firmly opposes it”.

The 1,300-item list included unwrought aluminium, aluminium alloys, aluminium and aluminium alloy fabricated products such as bars, rods, profiles, sheets, plates, strips and foil, as well as steel and stainless steel products.

Check Metal Bulletin’s live futures report here.

SHFE snapshot at 11.34am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session’s close (yuan)
Copper (May) 50,440 70
Aluminium (May) 14,015 -65
Zinc (May) 24,710 -55
Lead (May) 18,690 -15
Tin  (May) 145,450 50
Nickel  (July) 100,670 -120

LME snapshot at 04.34am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session’s close ($)
Copper 6,814 18
Aluminium 1,996.50 18.5
Lead 2,404.50 12.5
Zinc 3,268.50 -11.5
Tin 21,290 90
Nickel 13,520 55

The downturn of aluminium prices on the London Metal Exchange has allowed for more demand globally, although the uncertainty surrounding US President Donald Trump’s next steps on the 232 tariff exemptions could dictate the direction of global premiums for the coming months. Read more in our latest weekly global aluminium wrap.

Could China become an exporter of alumina? The answer lies in the widening differential between Chinese domestic and international alumina prices and lingering tightened availability of spot material in the Atlantic.

And finally, be sure to check out the latest ferro-vanadium and vanadium pentoxide transactions, bids, offers and assessments in Europe. See our March trade log here.

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