LIVE FUTURES REPORT 18/04: SHFE Al, Cu prices buoyed; rest weaker

Copper and aluminium were the only base metals on the Shanghai Futures Exchange to record any price gains during morning trading on Thursday April 18, while the rest of the complex declined.

Aluminium was the outperformer of the SHFE base metals this morning, with the metal’s most-traded June contract climbing to 14,020 yuan ($2,094) per tonne as at 10.39am Shanghai time, up by 50 yuan per tonne or 0.4% from its previous close of 13,970 yuan per tonne.

Copper also shrugged off the broad-based weakness experienced by its peers, buoyed by healthy gross domestic product (GDP) figures out of China and a strong close by the London Metal Exchange’s three-month copper price on Wednesday.

Copper’s three-month price on the LME climbed above $6,600 per tonne at the close of trading on Wednesday, after hitting an intraday high of $6,608.50 per tonne – its highest level of the year.

Red metal prices had been supported by a string of Chinese economic data that beat expectations.

China’s economy grew by 6.4% year on year in the first quarter of 2019, above expectations for an increase of 6.3% and steady with the prior quarter, according to official data released on Wednesday.

In other releases, industrial production jumped by 8.5% year on year in March, surging past the expected 5.9% increase. Retail sales for March were similarly strong, up by 8.7% year on year and surpassing the forecast 8.4% growth.

Despite this, copper prices on the SHFE were only up modestly on Thursday morning after hitting a high of 50,080 yuan per tonne – its highest since early March – earlier in the session. The most-traded June copper contract was up by just 70 yuan per tonne or 0.1% to 49,580 yuan per tonne as at 10.39am Shanghai time.

With a host of manufacturing data out across Europe and the United States – see other highlights – and a number of markets winding down ahead of the Good Friday holiday tomorrow, trade is expected to be lackluster while participants take to the sidelines.

Other highlights
– The dollar index has reclaimed the psychological level of 97 – it was little changed from its previous close at 97.03 as at 11.34am Shanghai time.
– The Shanghai Composite was down by 0.23% at 3255.67 as at 11.30am Shanghai time.
– In European data on Wednesday, the UK’s consumer price index (CPI) year on year for the March period was stable at 1.9%, missing expectations of a rise to 2%. Producer price index (PPI) input on a month on month basis over the same period fell to -0.2%, down from 1% the prior month.
– The UK’s retail price index (RPI) year on year for the March period fell 0.1% to 2.4%, missing an expected rise to 2.6%.
– The European Union’s CPI rose by 1.4% in March, in line with expectations, while its trade surplus widened to €17.9 billion ($20.2 billion) in February – up from €17.4 billion in the prior month.
– In US data on Wednesday, the country’s trade deficit narrowed to $49.4 billion in February from $51.1 billion previously.
– In data on Thursday, there is a host of manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data from the EU, France, Germany and the US due. The German reading in particular will garner much market focus after a shock fall from 47.6 to 44.1 in March.