LIVE FUTURES REPORT 04/05: SHFE base metals prices diverge; zinc spooked by LME drop

Base metal prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange diverged during Asian morning trading on Friday May 4, with zinc prices spooked by the overnight weakness on the London Metal Exchange.

The most-traded SHFE June zinc contract was at 23,295 yuan ($3,664) per tonne as at 10.47 am Shanghai time, down by 435 yuan per tonne from the previous day’s closing price. Around 316,000 lots of the contract have been traded so far.

The LME three-month zinc price dropped below $3,000 per tonne and dived to its lowest point since August 2017 on Thursday. The price closed at $3,007 per tonne, down 1.3% from Wednesday’s close.

The price dip may be a delayed response to the delivery of more than 60,000 tonnes into Antwerp’s LME-listed warehouse last week, though trader sentiment point toward an eventual outflow of the material.

“The SHFE zinc price is facing strong technical resistance…the price is expected to remain weak in the near-term,” China’s Ruida Futures said in report late on Thursday.

The broker added that SHFE base metal prices should continue to face downward pressure from a strong dollar, a result of positive US economic data.

The dollar index had hit as high as 92.84 on Wednesday, the highest since December 27, 2017. The index was at 92.38 at 10.43 am Shanghai time after consolidation set in.

In zinc news, Teck Resources has signed annual zinc concentrate supply deals with European smelters Glencore and Nyrstar with treatment charges (TCs) at $147 per tonne. The deals mark a 12-year low in headline TCs – the fees paid to smelters for the processing of concentrate into refined metal – and a 14.5% drop from last year’s level of $172 per tonne, initially settled between Teck and Korea Zinc amid a tight spot concentrate market.

Meanwhile, China’s April Caixin Services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in a 52.9 on Friday, higher than the expected 52.2.

April survey data pointed to stronger increases in output across both the manufacturing and service sectors. Growth of services activity improved to a solid pace, although remained slower than that seen at the start of 2018, according to a joint statement from Caixin Insight Group and IHS Markit on Friday.

Investors will eye the US official jobs report due later today for indications of labor market and economic strength in the country – some 190,000 jobs are expected to have been added in the United States in April.

Trade is also expected to remain in focus with talks under way between senior US and Chinese officials in Beijing, though some market watchers noted that any breakthrough in the tariff standoff between the two economies was unlikely.

The US had threatened to impose import tariffs of 25% on a list of 1,300 items produced by China – among them aluminium and aluminium products, while China has threatened a 25% import tax on $50 billion worth of US-origin products including soy beans, automotives, chemicals and airplanes.

Base metals prices

  • The SHFE June aluminium price was unchanged at 14,565 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE June copper price increased 50 yuan per tonne to 51,110 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE June lead price slipped 10 yuan per tonne to 18,500 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE September tin price rose 790 yuan per tonne to 148,080 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE July nickel price eased 800 yuan per tonne to 103,960 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index fell 0.06% to 92.38 as at 10.43 am Shanghai time after hitting as high as 92.84 on Wednesday, the highest since December 27, 2017.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price decreased by 0.1% to $73.59 per barrel as at 10.44 am Shanghai time.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.14% to 3.096.63 as at 10.45 am Shanghai time on Friday.
  • In US data on Thursday, ISM non-manufacturing PMI for April disappointed at 56.8, likewise for preliminary unit labor costs at 2.7%. Other data surprised on the upside, including first quarter preliminary non-farm productivity at 0.7%, weekly unemployment claims at 211,000, March factory orders at 1.6%, the March trade balance at -$49 billion and April final services PMI at 54.6.
  • In US data later today, we have the official non-farm employment report.

SHFE snapshot at 10.47 am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
  Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session’s close (yuan)
Copper (Jun) 51,110 50
Aluminium (Jun) 14,565 0
Zinc (Jun) 23,295 -435
Lead (Jun) 18,500 -10
Tin  (Sep) 148,080 790
Nickel  (Jul) 103,960 -800

LME snapshot at 03.48 am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session’s close ($)
Copper 6,865 38
Aluminium 2,303 34
Lead 2,273.50 13.5
Zinc 3,021.50 14.5
Tin 21,240 35
Nickel 13,950 175

Changjiang spot snapshot on May 4
  Range (yuan per tonne) Change (yuan)
Copper  50,930-50,950 160
Aluminium 14,420-14,460 60
Zinc 23,550-24,550 -400
Lead 18,500-18,700 0
Tin  145,500-147,000 500
Nickel  104,300-104,600 -500
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