SHANGHAI, Mar 30 (SMM) – SHFE nonferrous metals, except for tin and nickel, traded lower on Monday, giving up the rebound from last Friday as investors remained cautious about the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overseas countries reported surging numbers of infections from the coronavirus, which has prompted shutdowns of businesses and stricter restrictions on public life in many parts of the world.
Aluminium led the decline and shed 1.45%, copper eased 0.82%, lead lost 0.4%, zinc declined 0.56%, while tin climbed 1.19% and nickel added 0.66%.
The ferrous complex also moved lower on expectations that lower prices of steel scrap may extend the increase in production at EAF steel mills. Iron ore shed 2.27%, rebar dipped 2.99%, hot-rolled coil declined 2.87%, stainless steel slipped 0.96% and coke went down 1.51%.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) unexpectedly cut the rate on reverse repurchase agreements by 20 basis points on Monday, the largest in nearly five years, as China stepped up efforts to offset the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 7-day reverse repo rate has been lowered to 2.2% from 2.4%.
Prices of oil fell to the lowest level in more than 17 years due to the COVID-19 driven demand losses and a continued price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Copper: The most-active SHFE May contract fell to a session low of 38,380 yuan/mt before recovered to nearly 39,000 yuan/mt and ended down 0.82% on the day at 38,720 yuan/mt. This compared with a trading range around 39,000 yuan/mt last week. The market expected further downside room in oil prices, and this may keep a lid on near-term copper prices. The SHFE contract may unlikely to break up 40,000 yuan/mt in the near term and support from 38,000 yuan/mt will be tested.
Aluminium: The most-liquid SHFE May contract declined as virus fears dampened the morale of longs, which departed and sent the contract down 1.45% on the day to finish at 11,515 yuan/mt. SMM data showed that social inventories of primary aluminium declined over the weekend, as downstream producers in Guangdong restocked on low inventories. However, it remains to be seen whether inventory draw will continue as export orders shrank on the virus impact.
Zinc: The most-active SHFE May contract hovered in a broad band around 15,120 yuan/mt and closed 0.56% lower on the day at 15,080 yuan/mt. Despite anticipations of more fiscal policy from the Chinese government, intensified fears about a collapse in overseas demand weighed on zinc prices. News about output cut on the mining front may underpin prices.
Nickel: The most-active SHFE June contract bounced back on short-covering, rising to an intraday high of 94,100 yuan/mt and closed up 0.66% at 93,210 yuan/mt. The prices are likely to remain volatile in the near term.
Lead: The most-liquid SHFE May contract slowed its increase given pressure from 14,000 yuan/mt. It finished the day 0.4% lower at 13,745 yuan/mt. Strong resistance will remain from 14,000 yuan/mt.
Tin: The most-traded SHFE June contract rebounded after dipped to a session low of 115,780 yuan/mt as investors added their long positions. It ended at 118,800 yuan/mt, 1.19% higher on the day. With support from the 10-day moving average, the contract is expected to face resistance from 120,000 yuan/mt in the near term.