On February 19th, the People's Bank of China announced an increase of 0.5% to the bank reserve requirement ratio from February 24th. This is the eighth time since the beginning of 2010 and the second time this year the ratio has been raised, which now stands at 19.5%. Violence in Libya causing oil supply disruptions sent New York crude oil futures prices on February 23rd to over USD 100/bbl, the highest level in over 2 years. Unrest in the Middle East has also reduced investors risk appetite and will cause base metal prices to continue to fall in the short term.
Copper: Premiums for imported copper were mixed over this past week, with offers between USD 20-90/mt, but with actual traded prices generally around USD 50/mt. Due to high stock levels in bonded areas, imported copper prices will see limited upward momentum in the short term. (Page 3)
Aluminum: The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Finance jointly issued the Promotion Plan for Secondary Nonferrous Metal Industry, which introduced specific requirements for the development of a secondary metal industry in China over the next five years. According to the plan, large-scale production, energy conservation, higher industry concentration, and technical innovation are key factors for the successful development of secondary aluminum industry. (Page 6)
Zinc: The WTO has initially declared that the restriction of raw material exports is illegal. (Page 8)
Lead: LME lead prices fluctuated near USD 2,500/mt after rising to a one-month high of USD 2,664/mt last week. Well-known branded lead prices in China's domestic lead markets were firm between RMB 17,500-17,600/mt. (Page 12)
Nickel: During January, China's output of nickel contained in NPI was 18,855.2 mt, up 33.95% YoY. (Page 15)