LIVE FUTURES REPORT 19/03: SHFE nickel price gains on weaker dollar, higher iron ore

Nickel prices climbed 1.17% on the Shanghai Futures Exchange during morning trading on Tuesday March 19 amid a weaker US dollar and a rise in iron ore prices after a court ordered Brazilian mining company Vale to halt to production at its Timbopeba mine in Brazil.

The most-traded May nickel contract on the SHFE stood at 101,230 yuan, up 1,170 yuan per tonne from Monday’s close, tracking an increase in the most-traded May iron ore contract during the Asian morning trading session. The most-traded iron ore contract stood at 636 yuan per tonne, up by 0.24% compared with Monday’s close.

“Supply issues were front of mind in the bulk commodity sector, with iron ore prices surging on reports of further mine closures in Brazil…The mine had a capacity of approximately 12.8 million tonnes per year of iron ore. This latest issue raises the possibility that the review of the tailings dams in Brazil will impact more iron ore operations in Brazil than originally expected. Investors reacted swiftly on the news, with iron ore futures both on the Dalian and Singapore exchanges rising sharply,” Daniel Been, analyst at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), said in a morning note.

The dollar index was at 96.48 as of 9.57am Shanghai time, down by 0.04% from its previous close, following a slightly weaker-than-expected US Housing Market Index number and the expectations of a more dovish tone by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) at its meeting later this week.

The Housing Market Index for March released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) was unchanged from previous month at 62 , slightly weaker than the anticipated 63.

“The Fed’s tightening cycle looks done for the foreseeable future. Only a sharp and sustained inflation overshoot could trigger further hikes – a scenario we don’t envisage in the next couple of years,” Daniel Been added.

Other highlights
        – The May copper price inched down by 140 yuan per tonne to 49,210 yuan per tonne as of 9.57am Shanghai time. The price has come under pressure by the easing LME cash/three month spread, which moved to a backwardation of $14.74 per tonne on March 18 from an average $21.55 per tonne backwardation last week.
        – In equities, the Shanghai Composite was down by 0.09% to 3,093.91 as at 11.00am Shanghai time.
        – In Europe, the UK unemployment rate is expected to be released today.