LIVE FUTURES REPORT 04/12: SHFE base metals prices broadly down on Trump trade remarks; Ni plunges 3.6%

With the exception of tin, base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were down during the morning trading session on Wednesday December 4 after United States President Donald Trump said a trade deal with China may not come until after next year’s presidential election.

In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal, but they want to make a deal now and we will see whether or not the deal is going to be right, Trump said on Tuesday.

The comments come after Trump announced on Monday that he was imposing new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Brazil and Argentina, while US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross warned that time was running out for a US-China trade deal to be signed before December 15 – the day when the US is expected to impose additional tariffs on Chinese goods.

The subdued mood in global markets was not helped by reports on Tuesday that the US House of Representatives had approved a bill condemning China’s mass detention of ethnic Muslims and had called for sanctions against some senior Chinese officials.

The bill still has to be approved by the Republican-controlled US Senate before being sent to Trump but has already drawn wide criticism from China, and this is fueling further risk-off sentiment in global markets this morning.

“Adding to the trade tension, Chinese media said that the government will soon publish a list of unreliable entities that could lead to sanctions against US companies,” ANZ Research analyst Rahul Khare said in a morning note.

The negative macroeconomic backdrop has seen most of the SHFE base metals retreat this morning, with the-most traded February nickel contract leading the decline. The contract fell to 104,300 yuan ($14,786) per tonne as at 11.14am Shanghai time, down by 3,940 yuan per tonne from Tuesday’s close of 108,240 yuan per tonne.

This mirrors similar weakness to that exhibited by the London Metal Exchange three-month nickel price on Tuesday, when it closed down by 3.5% at $13,375 per tonne.

January lead and January copper fell by 0.33% and 0.17% respectively this morning, while January aluminium dipped by 0.04% and January zinc edged down by 0.08%. January tin was the lone metal to record a gain this morning, rising by 510 yuan per tonne or 0.37% to 139,110 yuan per tonne.

Other highlights

  • The dollar index, which gauges the strength of the US dollar against a basket of foreign currencies, was up by 0.03% at 97.76 as at 12.30am Shanghai time.
  • The Shanghai Composite Index was down by 0.34% at 2,874.88 as at 11.30 am Shanghai time.
  • In European data on Tuesday, the United Kingdom’s construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 45.3 in November from 44.2 previously, while industrial producer prices rose by 0.1% in the European Union in September.
  • In data on Wednesday, China’s Caixin services PMI rose to a seven-month high of 53.5 in November, up from 51.1 in the prior month.
  • There is a host of services PMI data out across Europe and the US later on Wednesday, while the US’ ADP non-farm employment change, Institute for Supply Management (ISM) non-manufacturing PMI and weekly crude oil inventories are also scheduled.