China will accelerate the transformation of the economic development and promote adjustments in its economic structure during the 12th Five-Year Plan period, based on reports from the ongoing NPC and CPPCC. These goals will be favorable for base metal consumption in the long term, but soaring oil prices from Libyan unrest is intensifying short-term market worries over a slowing of the global economic recovery. In response, base metal prices plunged, but can rebound with positive news from Libya and the Middle East.
Copper: According to China Customs, China's imports of unwrought copper and copper semis were 235.5 kt in February, a drop of 128.8 kt from January's 364.2 kt, down 35.35% MoM, and down 26.94% YoY. Imports are expected to be between 300-350 kt in March. (Page 3)
Aluminum: China's construction aluminum profile industry reported slow growth in profits during 2010, while some even reported negative growth, due mainly to shrinking market demand, steadily rising energy, labor, and production costs. China's aluminum profile industry needs to transform products and market structures. The industrial aluminum profile sector should begin a period of rapid development over the next ten years. (Page 7)
Zinc: Chihong Zn & Ge Company will continue to integrate resources to enhance core competiveness. (Page 8)
Lead: Last week, LME lead prices reported largest losses as high as 10.4%, while prices in China's domestic lead markets were RMB 17,100-17,500/mt. (Page 11)
Nickel: NPI prices fell and a wait-and-see sentiment grew in nickel ore markets. (Page 13)