Downstream demand in the post-holiday market has not improved as much as expected. The issue of national debt in some EU countries persists, along with the scope of response from Germany. This problem, coupled with mixed economic data from the US, including unemployment, is spreading concern among investors. Last week, base metals prices strengthened at first, but later moved lower, and CBI believes base metals markets will fluctuate in the coming week due to the lack of strong long positions.
Copper: According to China Customs, China's refined copper imports were 196.9 kt, up 9.11% YoY, but down 19.30% MoM. CBI believes China's refined copper imports will remain low in February due to the impact from the Chinese New Year holiday. (Page 6)
Aluminum: Downstream consumption has not fully recovered after the Chinese New Year holiday, with most downstream manufacturers expected to resume normal operations in March. This delay in demand is depressing domestic spot market sentiment, causing aluminum prices to fall slightly as a result. CBI believes aluminum prices will begin to stabilize as domestic consumption recovers. (Page 8)
Zinc: Imports of zinc concentrate were 340 kt during January, down 15.1% MoM. (Page 10)
Lead: Last week, LME lead prices gave back close to 50% of gains made during the Chinese New Year holiday, falling from USD 2,350/mt to USD 2,150/mt. Domestic lead prices have not significantly improved post-holiday, with weak demand reported. (Page 12)
Nickel: NPI market favors (10 -15%) NPI. (Page 16)