LIVE FUTURES REPORT 04/12: Most SHFE base metals prices weaker amid bouts of profit-taking; tin supported

Base metals prices, bar those for tin, on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were all down during Asia morning trading on Tuesday December 4, with investors taking profits following the strong performance by the complex on Monday.

With the bullishness stemming from an agreement between China and the United States to limit further use of trade tariffs beginning to wane, participants have again turned their attention to the fundamental factors affecting the respective base metals markets – prompting some investors to lock in profits after Monday’s gains.

In copper, a pessimistic view toward consumption in the run up to the end of the year and a loosening of concentrate supply is weighing on red metal prices, market participants said.

The most-traded February copper contract on the SHFE fell to 49,850 yuan ($7,220) per tonne as at 10.49am Shanghai time, down by 400 yuan per tonne from Monday’s closing price.

Chinese copper import volumes have declined in recent weeks, while downstream purchases in the country’s domestic market have also been very limited, both indicating weaker demand for the metal during what is traditionally a low-consumption season.

Downstream buyers are taking a ‘wait-and-see’ stance after prices benefitted from the positivity stemming from a successful meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump at the Group of Twenty (G20) Summit in Argentina over the weekend, with lower transaction volumes reported today after the higher prices on Monday, according to Chinese broker Guntaijunan Futures.

Guntaijunan Futures forecasts that SHFE copper prices will hover within a narrow range over the next few days.

In addition, “a looser copper concentrate market will be another reason that keeps investors cautious over any rally in copper prices”, an analyst at a Shanghai-based hedge fund said.

Diverted tonnages have been flowing into the spot copper concentrate market following unplanned outages at major smelters, boosting treatment charges in the final two weeks of November, Fastmarkets reported.

Elsewhere, tin was the sole SHFE base metal to secure any gains this morning – albeit marginal ones – with expectations of tightening supply continuing to prop up prices for the metal.

The SHFE January tin contract edged up by 40 yuan per tonne to 144,740 yuan per tonne as at 10.49am Shanghai time.

China’s refined tin production is set to fall by 29% year on year in the fourth quarter, mostly due to a lack of concentrate from Myanmar, the International Tin Association said on November 29.

Base metals prices

  • The SHFE January aluminium contract dipped by 30 yuan per tonne to 13,780 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE January zinc contract fell by 25 yuan per tonne to 21,175 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE January lead contract slid by 110 yuan per tonne to 18,460 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE January nickel contract moved down 110 yuan per tonne to 91,690 yuan per tonne.


Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index was down by 0.14% at 96.82 as at 12.04pm Shanghai time.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite was up by 0.044% at 2,655.96 as at 11.30 am Shanghai time.
  • In a busy day for data on Monday, China’s Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for November was marginally better than expected at 50.2, compared with a forecast print of 50.1.
  • Elsewhere, the US’ final manufacturing PMI for last month was at 55.3 – just below the forecast and previous prints of 55.4. The ISM PMI for the same period came in at 59.3, besting expected and previous readings of 57.5 and 57.7 respectively. The ISM manufacturing prices index came in at 60.7, falling well short of an expected 70.1.
  • Data of note to be released on Tuesday includes the United Kingdom’s construction PMI, the European Union’s producer price index and the US’ IBD/TIPP economic optimism.
  • In addition, Bank of England governor Mark Carney, US Federal Open Market Committee member John Williams and BOE Monetary Policy Committee member Gertjan Vlieghe are speaking.

London Metal Exchange, base metals prices

Shanghai Futures Exchange, base metals prices

Changjiang spot prices, base metals prices

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