LIVE FUTURES REPORT 31/12: SHFE base metals prices largely negative following lackluster Chinese data

A combination of slow year-end trading activity and uninspiring Chinese economic data saw most of the base metals traded on the Shanghai Futures Exchange end the morning trading session in negative territory on Tuesday December 31.

Tin and nickel were the lone metals to register any gains this morning, with the latter outperforming with a 0.6% increase in its most-traded contract.

The most-traded March nickel contract ended the morning session on Tuesday at 112,410 yuan ($16,086) per tonne, up by 690 yuan per tonne from its close of 111,720 yuan per tonne on Monday.

This follows similar strength on Monday, when the March nickel contract rose by 1.6% at the close of the morning session. The alloying metal continues to benefit from expectations of greater demand from the new energy vehicle market.

Elsewhere, the June tin contract ticked up by 0.2% to 135,090 yuan per tonne, while the rest of the SHFE base metals were down between 0.2% for February aluminium and 0.7% for February lead.

“Trading is muted on the last trading day of the decade as attention turns to New Year’s celebrations this evening,” an analyst in Shanghai said.

Meanwhile, economic data released by China this morning was mixed and thus had limited positive effect on the base metals prices.

China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) stood at 50.2 in December, unchanged from the prior month but marginally higher than the expected reading of 50.1.

The country’s non-manufacturing PMI for the same month disappointed however, falling to 53.5 from 54.4 previously. Analysts had expected a reading of 54.2.

Other highlights

  • The dollar index, which gauges the strength of the US dollar against a basket of foreign currencies, was down by 0.05% at 96.71 as at 11.35am Shanghai time. This compares with a reading of 96.80 at a similar time on Monday.
  • The Shanghai Composite Index was down by 0.06% at 3,038.26 as at 11.30 am Shanghai time.
  • Data out later today includes United States’ house prices and the Conference Board’s consumer confidence.