LIVE FUTURES REPORT 22/10: SHFE copper price buoyed by supply concerns; nickel continues to drift downward

Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were broadly down during the morning trading session on Tuesday October 22, with copper and aluminium securing marginal gains while the rest of the complex weakened.

Copper was the outperformer of the SHFE base metals in terms of percentage gains. The red metal’s most traded December contract price rose to 47,140 yuan ($6,661) per tonne as at 10.08am Shanghai time, up by 120 yuan per tonne – or 0.3% – from Monday’s close of 47,020 yuan per tonne.

Copper continues to find support from supply-side issues such as force majeure declarations at MMG’s Las Bambas in Peru and Antofagasta’s Antucoya smelter in Chile last week.

More recently, union workers at Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, have threatened strike action, and have called on miners across Chile to “paralyze” the mining industry, after a state of emergency was declared at the weekend.

Separately, one of the main trade unions at Codelco’s Chuquicamata division in Chile said on Monday that it was open to schedule an assembly to decide whether to support a nation-wide strike.

“Copper prices led the sector higher as unrest in Chile threatened to broaden the strike action already underway at copper mines in the country,” an analyst with ANZ Research said in a morning note.

“The market was already on edge following reports that talks between unions and management at Teck’s Carmen de Andacollo and Antofagasta’s Antucoya copper mines remain on hold,” the analyst added.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, nickel’s recent run of weakness continued this morning, with the alloying metal leading the broad-based decline experienced across most of the SHFE base metals.

The most-traded December nickel contract fell to 125,830 yuan per tonne as at 10.08am Shanghai time, down by 560 yuan per tonne – or 0.4% – from Monday’s close of 126,390 yuan per tonne.

Nickel continues to work off excessive bullish froth that had primarily been driven by the Indonesian government bringing forward a ban on nickel ore exports forward by two years, according to Fastmarkets’ analyst Andy Farida.

Others highlights

  • Aluminium was the only other SHFE base metal to record a gain this morning, with its most-traded December contract up by 0.1% from the previous day’s close. December zinc (-0.2%), December lead (-0.2%) and January tin (-0.4%) were down all from their Monday closes.
  • The dollar index, which gauges the strength of the US dollar against a basket of foreign currencies, was up by 0.1% at 97.32 as at 10.08am Shanghai time.
  • The Shanghai Composite Index was down by 1.26%, at 2,938.09 as at 10.25am Shanghai time.
  • In European data on Monday, the German producer price index (PPI) reading on a month-on-month basis for the September-October period topped expectations with a 0.1% climb, up from a 0.5% decline in the previous reading.
  • In data on Tuesday, CBI industrial order expectations from the United Kingdom as well as existing home sales and the Richmond manufacturing index from the United States are of note.