LIVE FUTURES REPORT 11/09: Mixed moves in SHFE base metals prices continue despite easing trade tensions; Al buoyed

As they have done throughout most of this week, base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gave mixed performances during morning trading on Wednesday September 11.

Risk appetite was buoyed slightly this morning by reports that China will buy more US agricultural products to facilitate a better trade deal ahead of scheduled talks between top US and Chinese negotiators in Washington early next month.

Aluminium and zinc recorded marginal gains amid the easing trade tensions as well as optimism surrounding the metals’ own fundamentals, while the rest of the complex trended downward as investors continued to mull recent economic data.

On Tuesday, data from China showed that consumer inflation rose more than expected last month with a 2.8% year-on-year gain. The producer price index, meanwhile, unexpectedly fell by 0.8% over the same comparison to record its quickest decline in three years.

The lackluster trading could also be attributed to investors awaiting upcoming central bank meetings, including the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank (ECB), both of which are widely expected to announce monetary stimulus measures. The ECB meets on Thursday, while the Federal Reserve meets on September 17-18.

In aluminium, the most-traded November contract on the SHFE rose to 14,385 yuan ($2,022) per tonne as at 10.23am Shanghai time, up by 30 yuan per tonne – or 0.2% – from Tuesday’s close of 14,355 yuan per tonne.

Light metal prices have found support from news that following its decision to suspend the export of nickel ore from next year, Indonesia is mulling a further ban on the export of bauxite, triggering concerns of a shortfall in aluminium raw materials.

“Aluminium prices jumped after US producer Alcoa warned of possible supply disruptions in Indonesia. A ban on exports of bauxite in Indonesia could be enough to wipe out the global surplus of the ore,” analysts with ANZ Research said in a morning note.

Copper, on the other hand, failed to respond positively to the renewed macroeconomic optimism, hindered by weakness in the Chilean peso and renewed strength in the dollar, according to Fastmarkets’ analyst Boris Mikanikrezai.

The most-traded November copper contract fell to 47,230 yuan per tonne as at 10.23am Shanghai time, down by 200 yuan per tonne – or 0.4% – from Tuesday’s close of 47,430 yuan per tonne.

“The consolidation in copper prices is partly attributed to renewed weakness in the Chilean peso, with the USD/CLP up 0.5% so far this week, after a decline of 0.6% last week. The renewed strength in the dollar is driven by the rise in yields after the market’s bond pricing was too aggressive,” Mikanikrezai said.

After dropping to 98.079, the lowest point since late August, the dollar index recovered slightly and climbed up to an intra-day high of 98.465 on Tuesday. The index was up 0.01% to 98.35 as at 10.49am Shanghai time this morning.

Other highlights

  • Zinc was the outperformer of the SHFE base metals complex this morning, with the metal’s most-traded November contract rising by 75 yuan per tonne – or 0.4% – from Monday’s close of 19,025 yuan per tonne.
  • In data on Tuesday, the United States’ Jolts job openings for July fell to 7.22 million, missing an expected reading of 7.31 million and down from 7.25 million in June.
  • It is a light day for data on Wednesday, with US producer prices and crude oil inventories of note.