LIVE FUTURES REPORT 06/01: SHFE base metals display mild strength as participants return to market; zinc climbs 1.3%

Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were mostly up at the close of the morning trading session on Monday January 6, with the complex partly buoyed by the return of participants following year-end holidays and positive trade headlines.

But gains were mild against a backdrop of rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, the result of a United States-led airstrike killed Iranian and Iraqi officials at the end of last week.

News over the weekend that a Chinese delegation plans to travel to Washington next week for the signing of a “phase one” trade deal with the US has provided some relief from wider geopolitical concerns this morning. The initial deal is widely seen as heralding a truce in the ongoing trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Meanwhile, the complex also found support from the return of market participants following year-end holidays, leading to an increase in volumes seen this morning.

Zinc was the outperformer this morning, with the metal’s most-traded February contract rising to 17,955 yuan ($2,577) per tonne at the close of the early trading session, up by 235 yuan per tonne – or 1.3% – from Friday’s close of 17,755 yuan per tonne. Around 86,000 lots of the contract had exchanged hands by the close of the morning trading session, compared with about 63,000 lots on Friday.

As for the rest of the complex, the March copper contract inched up by 20 yuan per tonne to 48,920 yuan per tonne, the February aluminium contract was unchanged at 14,085 yuan per tonne, the February lead contract rose by 0.7% to 14,700 yuan per tonne and the March nickel contract was up by 0.4% to 108,220 yuan per tonne.

Only tin registered a loss this morning; its most-traded May contract was down by 0.2% to 135,800 yuan per tonne.

Other highlights

  • The dollar index, which gauges the strength of the US dollar against a basket of foreign currencies, was down by 0.05% at 96.81 as at 11.30am Shanghai time. This compares with a reading of 96.76 at a similar time on Friday.
  • In US data on Friday, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 47.2 in December, from 48.1 previously, to record its lowest reading since June 2009.
  • The economic agenda is busy on Monday with a host of services PMI data out across Europe and the US.
  • Germany-based consulting firm Sentix’s reading of investor confidence in the eurozone is also scheduled.