LIVE FUTURES REPORT 18/04: SHFE base metals prices broadly down; aluminium runs into profit-taking

Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were mostly down during Asian morning trading on Wednesday April 18 after the generally positive Chinese data released yesterday failed to motivate investors to chase prices higher.

Meanwhile, aluminium succumbed to profit-taking after its recent run of sanction-driven strength.

The most-traded June aluminum contract on the SHFE traded at 14,850 yuan ($2,363) per tonne as of 11.30am Shanghai time, down by 70 yuan per tonne from Tuesday’s close.

Investors generally remain concerned about the availability of aluminium after the United States imposed sanctions on Russian aluminium producer UC Rusal on April 6. Rusal is responsible for 7% of global aluminium production.

The London Metal Exchange’s three-month aluminium price has risen around 18% since April 6.

A surge in LME aluminium stocks on Tuesday, however, has prompted some investors to take profits this morning. Inventories climbed 52,125 tonnes to 1,412,400 tonnes.

Yet any downside in aluminium should be fairly limited with the emergence of concerns about tightening raw material supply.

“Aluminium producers are now worried about raw material availability, with Rusal being a large producer of aluminium feed, alumina,” ANZ Research noted on Wednesday.

Base metals prices

  • The SHFE June copper contract price retreated 110 yuan to 50,710 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE June lead contract price fell 95 yuan to 18,060 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE May tin contract price rose 10 yuan to 144,960 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE July nickel contract price slid 370 yuan to 103,430 yuan per tonne.
  • The SHFE June zinc contract price inched up 100 yuan to 23,790 yuan per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index was unchanged at 89.50 as of 11.22am Shanghai time.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price inched up 0.37% to $71.94 per barrel as of 11.49 am Shanghai.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite dipped 0.5% to 3,051.50 as of 11.24am Shanghai time.
  • In US data on Tuesday, building permits came in at 1.35 million with housing starts at 1.32 million, both above estimates. Capacity utilization was broadly on par with expectations at 78%, while industrial production with a gain of 0.5% bested forecasts.
  • In data today, the United Kingdom will release its consumer price index (CPI), producer price index and house prices, while the European Union will announce its final CPI reading for March.
  • In the US, the Federal Reserve will release its Beige book, while Federal Open Market Committee members William Dudley and Randal Quarles are speaking.
LME snapshot at 03.23am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session’s close ($)
Copper 6,865 -12.5
Aluminium 2,415 10
Lead 2,335 -15
Zinc 3,151 -3.5
Tin 21,285 -190
Nickel 14,285 70

SHFE snapshot at 11.23am Shanghai time
Most-traded SHFE contracts
Price (yuan per tonne) Change since previous session’s close (yuan)
Copper (June) 50,710 -110
Aluminium (June) 14,850 -70
Zinc (June) 23,790 100
Lead (June) 18,060 -95
Tin (May) 144,960 10
Nickel (July) 103,430 -370

Changjiang spot snapshot on April 18
Range (yuan per tonne) Change (yuan)
Copper 50,930-50,950 0
Aluminium 14,710-14,750 0
Zinc 24,200-25,200 100
Lead 18,250-18,450 -50
Tin 145,000-146,000 750
Nickel 103,100-103,400 -400
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