EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEF 22/03: Weaker dollar underpins SHFE base metals; refined copper market in deficit in ‘17; Chinese indium price jumps

Good morning from Metal Bulletin’s office in Shanghai as we bring you the latest news and pricing stories on Thursday March 22.

Base metal prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were broadly higher during Asian morning trading on Thursday, with support coming from a weaker dollar following Wednesday’s US Federal Reserve meeting.

The most-traded May copper contract on the SHFE was at 51,110 yuan ($8,075) per tonne as of 11.20am Shanghai time, up by 530 yuan per tonne from Wednesday’s closing price, with around 252,000 lots of the contract traded.

Check Metal Bulletin’s live futures report here.

SHFE snapshot at 11.20am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session’s close (yuan)
Copper (May) 51,110 530
Aluminium (May) 13,930 -5
Zinc (May) 24,760 355
Lead (May) 18,655 300
Tin  (May) 144,620 1,300
Nickel  (Jul) 101,940 460

LME snapshot at 03.20am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session’s close ($)
Copper 6,814 21
Aluminium 2,097 16
Lead 2,401.50 1.5
Zinc 3,248.50 -0.5
Tin 20,895 -105
Nickel 13,495 35

The global refined copper market ended 2017 with a deficit of about 163,000 tonnes due to stagnant mine growth, the International Copper Study Group said on Tuesday.

Indium prices in China jumped this week, supported by a recovery in investment interest for the metal and an uptick in downstream demand.

The stainless steel scrap market in the United States is showing mixed signals, although prices remain relatively stable despite a decline in London Metal Exchange cash nickel while ferro-chrome and ferrous scrap prices remain firm.

Bulk and containerized ferrous scrap export prices on the US West Coast moved in different directions this past week, further clouding the direction of prices. But a lack of bulk activity on the US East Coast did not prevent export yard buying prices from rising amid healthy demand.

Buying from Chinese manganese smelters might slow down but strong market fundamentals will support manganese prices, participants said during a panel discussion at the Asian Ferro-Alloys Conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday.