LIVE FUTURES REPORT 24/10: Strength in SHFE nickel price persists; other metals broadly up

With the exception of tin, base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were up during the morning trading session on Thursday October 24.

As was the case on Wednesday, nickel led the charge higher. The most-traded December nickel contract on the SHFE climbed to 131,900 yuan ($18,644) per tonne as at 10.08am Shanghai time, up by 1,930 – or 1.5% – from Wednesday’s close of 129,970 yuan per tonne.

Nickel’s price action continue to find support from significantly low London Metal Exchange stocks following recent drawdowns. LME nickel stocks totaled 83,694 tonnes on Wednesday, a decrease of 49% from 164,274 tonnes in mid-September.

Potential supply disruptions are also price positive for nickel.

Russian multi-metal miner Nornickel confirmed on Tuesday that three people had been killed in an accident at its Taimyr mine in Siberia. The company, which is Russia’s largest miner and the second-largest global nickel producer, has not released particulars surrounding the accident as yet but the mine is believed to still be operational.

Copper registered similar strength this morning with its most-traded December contract up by 1% from its close on Wednesday, while the metal benefits from supply concerns amid ongoing protests in Chile which are disruption copper operations in the country.

“Copper prices rose amid concerns that the anti-government protests in Chile were spreading into the Chilean mining industry. Unions representing major copper mines in the country are calling for one or two days of strike,” John Bromhead, foreign exchange strategist at ANZ Research, said in morning note.

“While it didn’t announce force majeure, Codelco, the state-owned copper producer in Chile, said that supplies would be disrupted in coming days,” Bromhead added.

Two of Codelco’s divisions are operating at minimum rates or have been completely halted due to a general strike in Chile, the state-owned copper producer said on Wednesday.

The rest of the SHFE base metals, barring tin, were ranged between a slight increase of 5 yuan per tonne in December lead and a 0.4% gain for December zinc.

Tin was the lone SHFE base metal in negative territory in the morning trading session, registering a drop of 0.3% in the soldering metal’s most-traded January contract.

Other highlights

  • The dollar index, which gauges the strength of the US dollar against a basket of foreign currencies, was down by 0.04% at 97.42 as at 10.08am Shanghai time.
  • The Shanghai Composite Index was down by 1.01%, at 2,940.03, as at 10.47am Shanghai time.
  • In US data on Wednesday, the house price index rose by 0.2% in August from the prior month, which was below analysts’ forecasts of a 0.4% rise. Weekly crude oil inventories unexpectedly fell in the week ended October 18, with a 1.7 million-barrel decline compared with the expected 2.75 million-barrel increase.
  • In data on Thursday, there is a host of manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data out across Japan, Europe and the United States. Other data of note includes the European Central Bank’s (ECB) monetary policy statement, main refinancing rate and press conference.
  • US data out later on Thursday includes durable goods orders, unemployment claims and new home sales.