According to China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China's CPI in February was up 2.7% on a yearly basis, weighed on base metals markets, and triggered market concerns over a more restrictive monetary policy in China. China's downstream demand has slowly recovered since the end of February, but now has limited any upward momentum for short-term prices. Markets are still consuming stocks built up during the Chinese New Year holiday.
Copper: The State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, and the State Standardization Administration of China have issued national energy efficiency standards for new room air conditioners, and will come into effect from 1 June 2010. (Page 3)
Aluminum: Operating rates at domestic downstream fabricators increased after the Lantern Festival (February 28th), but domestic aluminum spot inventories continue to grow, causing market players to adopt a wait-and-see attitude toward market trends. (Page 6)
Zinc: Domestic zinc spot prices failed to keep pace with SHFE zinc prices, causing spot discounts to expand to over RMB 1,000/mt against SHFE 1006 zinc contracts. (Page 8)
Lead: Last week, LME lead prices fluctuated in the USD 2,213-2,333/mt range. Transactions in domestic lead markets remained depressed, with no improvement in prices reported. (Page 10)
Nickel: Nickel plate inventories at producers and traders gradually entered markets, with lower-priced nickel plate putting pressure on Shanghai spot market prices. (Page 13)