After experiencing sharp gains during the first half of last week, base metal prices have remained at current high levels since Wednesday. Pessimism from the latest US non-farm employment data is expected to depress buying interest. However, SMM believes base metal prices will remain strong over the long term.
Copper: Scrap copper retained its price advantage last week, as scrap copper price increases were limited compared to rising pace of copper prices. Some copper smelters which previously used refined copper as a raw material now moved to scrap copper markets for purchases. However, most buyers were still cautious as prices rose, deciding to buy mainly on an as-needed basis. (Page 5)
Aluminum: The effect on alumina markets from the commissioning of new alumina capacity will not become clear until mid-September, but demand from aluminum producers continues to grow and is causing alumina supply to tighten. In this context, SMM predicts alumina prices will likely rise in the near term. (Page 6)
Zinc: Both SHFE and LME zinc prices posted growth rates last week of almost 5%. (Page 7)
Lead: LME lead prices rose above USD 2,200/mt after a gain on Monday of USD 150/mt. LME lead then stabilized at around USD 2,200/mt, after price corrections later in the week. Domestic lead prices tracked the rising LME price trends, with deals made between RMB 15,950-16,450/mt. (Page 10)
Nickel: Jinchuan group raised nickel ex-works prices twice. (Page 12)