LIVE FUTURES REPORT 03/04: SHFE base metals prices diverge, copper consolidates

Base metals traded on the Shanghai Futures Exchange took divergent paths during Asian morning trading on Tuesday April 3, with copper consolidating after its push higher over the past week.

The most-traded copper contract on the SHFE was at 50,550 yuan ($8,048) per tonne as of 10.53am Shanghai time, up by 160 yuan per tonne from Monday’s closing price. Around 145,000 lots of the contract have traded so far. The contract had reached as high as 50,640 yuan per tonne on Monday, the highest since March 22.

“We remain optimistic about copper prices. The decline in copper prices should have reached its end already and there will be further upside for copper with the start of the peak demand season in the market,” a Beijing-based metals analyst said.

The April-May period is typically the peak season for copper demand in the Chinese market.

The SHFE copper price had come under pressure since late February, dipping to as low as 48,720 yuan per tonne on March 26 - the lowest since July 2017 - before it began to rebound.

A risk-off tone, however, continues to linger in global markets after US equities fell on Monday spooked by a sell-off in tech stocks and fears of a global trade war.

China had announced on Monday that it will implement import tariffs on 128 types of United States-origin goods from Monday onwards. The list of new tariffs matches the list released by China on March 23.

Among these are import tariffs of 25% on aluminium scrap and 15% on seamless steel pipes.

While China’s response towards the US’ implementation of import tariffs on Chinese goods is seen as rather measured, there remain worries that retaliation from US trading partners could hurt global economic growth.

“These tariffs are a very small fraction of US imports to China, but confirm China’s willingness to retaliate,” ANZ Research said on Tuesday.

Base metals prices

  • The SHFE May zinc contract fell 10 yuan to 24,960 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE May lead contract decreased 165 yuan to 18,730 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE May tin contract slipped 640 yuan to 145,460 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE May aluminium contract was up by 90 yuan to 14,080 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE July nickel contract rose 150 yuan to 100,230 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index was down by 0.08% to 90 as of 10.50am Shanghai time.
  • The Brent crude oil spot price fell by 2.68% to 63.16 as of 10.50am Shanghai time.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite was down by 0.89% to 3,135.09 as of 10.50am Shanghai time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 1.9% or 458.92 points to close at 23,644.19 on Monday.
  • In US data released on Monday, the final manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for March came in at 55.6, in line with expectations of 55.7, while ISM manufacturing prices for the same month at 78.1 surpassed an expected print of 72.5. The ISM manufacturing PMI for March, however, disappointed at 59.3 - 60.1 had been called for. February construction spending likewise missed with a 0.1% rise, compared with a forecast increase of 0.4%.
  • It is a quiet day for economic data with mainly the United Kingdom’s manufacturing PMI and the US’ IBD/TIPP economic optimism of note.
SHFE snapshot at 10.53am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session’s close (yuan)
Copper (May) 50,550 160
Aluminium (May) 14,080 90
Zinc (May) 24,960 -10
Lead (May) 18,730 -165
Tin (May) 145,460 -640
Nickel (July) 100,230 150

LME snapshot at 03.53am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session’s close ($)
Copper 6,824 110
Aluminium 2,038 33.5
Lead 2,398 3
Zinc 3,290 16
Tin 21,300 200
Nickel 13,575 275

Changjiang spot snapshot on April 3
Range (yuan per tonne) Change (yuan)
Copper 50,650-50,670 550
Aluminium 13,980-14,020 270
Zinc 24,880-24,930 -30
Lead 18,750-18,950 -150
Tin 144,500-145,500 250
Nickel 100,050-100,550 250
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