LIVE FUTURES REPORT 08/01: SHFE base metals prices hold up well despite flare-up in US-Iran tensions

Most of the base metals traded on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended the morning trading session on Wednesday January 8 in positive territory despite tensions in the Middle East flaring again after Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two bases in Iraq that house United States troops.

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, announced via social media platform Twitter following the attack that “we do not seek escalation or war”, while US President Donald Trump tweeted that “all is well” and promised to make a statement later today.

The measured responses from both seemed to calm nerves in global markets, as did the lack of an immediate military response from the US.

In terms of the SHFE base metals, zinc was the outperformer at the end of the morning session on Wednesday. The metal’s most-traded March contract rose to 18,340 yuan ($2,639) per tonne, up by 165 yuan per tonne or – or 0.9% – from Tuesday’s close of 18,175 yuan per tonne.

This reverses the losses experienced by zinc on the SHFE on Tuesday and follows the strong finished by the London Metal Exchange’s three-month zinc price, which closed up by 1.3% at $2,346 per tonne.

Elsewhere, the February aluminium contract rose by 0.3% to 14,115 yuan per tonne, February lead increased by 0.6% to 14,905 yuan per tonne and June tin ticked up by 0.5% to 135,770 yuan per tonne at the close of the morning session.

Nickel and copper bucked the firmer showing exhibited by their peers to drift lower; the March contracts for copper and nickel slid by 0.2% and 0.6% to end the early session at 48,910 yuan per tonne and 108,740 yuan per tonne respectively.

Other highlights

  • In European data on Tuesday, the European Union’s consumer price index (CPI) flash estimate for December was in line with expectations at 1.3%, up from 1% in November.
  • US data on Tuesday showed the country’s trade deficit narrowed more than expected in November to $43.1 billion, from $46.9 billion previously. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) was better than forecast at 55 in December, exceeding the expected and previous prints of 54.5 and 53.9 respectively.
  • In data on Wednesday, the US’ ADP non-farm employment change, which may have some bearing on estimates for Friday’s non-farm payrolls release, and crude oil inventories are of note.
  • In addition, US President Donald Trump and Federal Open Market Committee member Lael Brainard are scheduled to speak.