LIVE FUTURES REPORT 15/05: SHFE base metals prices diverge; copper down amid disappointing data, stock inflows

Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were on divergent paths during Asian morning trading on Tuesday May 15, with copper down amid disappointing Chinese data and rising stock levels.

The most-active July copper contract on the SHFE traded at 51,280 yuan ($8,088) per tonne as at 10.44am Shanghai time, down 280 yuan per tonne from Monday’s close. Around 126,000 lots of the contract have changed hands so far this morning.

On Tuesday, China’s fixed asset investment growth came in at 7% for January-April, below expected growth of 7.4%, while April retail sales gained 9.4%, also below forecasts of a 10% increase. April industrial production, however, surprised on the upside with growth of 7% – 6.4% had been called for.

Sufficient supply of refined copper and rising copper stocks have capped the upside for red metal prices, China’s Minmetals Jingyi Futures said in a report on Monday.

Copper inventories are being digested at a slower rate in the second quarter of this year than last year, but there is support coming from tighter supply of copper scrap and concentrates, the broker said.

“Copper prices should continue to fluctuate in the near term, with outlook improving in the medium term,” it added.

Copper inventories in SHFE warehouses rose for a second consecutive week in the week ended May 11, reaching a total of 279,525 tonnes. Stocks in London Metal Exchange warehouses increased a net 8,900 tonnes to a total of 289,975 tonnes, with the increase concentrated in Singapore and Taiwan’s Kaohsiung.

Base metals prices

  • The SHFE July aluminium contract price increased 60 yuan per tonne to 14,695 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE June lead contract price fell 5 yuan per tonne to 19,380 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE July zinc contract price gained 160 yuan per tonne to 23,715 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE September tin contract price decreased 380 yuan per tonne to 145,750 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE July nickel contract price rose 380 yuan per tonne to 106,870 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases

  • The US dollar index was at 92.63 as at 10.50am Shanghai time, down 0.04% from its previous closing price.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price fell 0.27% to $78.25 per barrel as at 10.50am Shanghai.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.15% to 3,169.13 as at 10.50 am Shanghai time.
  • A string of US data is due later today, including core retail sales, retail sales, Empire State manufacturing index, business inventories and NAHB housing market index.
SHFE snapshot at 10.44am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session’s close (yuan)
Copper (Jul) 51,280 -280
Aluminium (Jul) 14,695 60
Zinc (Jul) 23,715 160
Lead (Jun) 19,380 -5
Tin (Sep) 145,750 -380
Nickel (Jul) 106,870 380

LME snapshot at 03.44am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session’s close ($)
Copper 6,875 -10
Aluminium 2,317 -2
Lead 2,381.50 -3.5
Zinc 3,079 24
Tin 20,980 30
Nickel 14,370 -130

Changjiang spot snapshot on May 15
Range (yuan per tonne) Change (yuan)
Copper 50,990-51,030 -190
Aluminium 14,560-14,600 100
Zinc 23,850-23,900 170
Lead 19,400-19,600 -200
Tin 144,000-145,500 0
Nickel 106,700-107,000 1,550
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