Metals News
SMM Morning Comments (Mar 31): Base metals rose after China said manufacturing activity expanded in March
price review forecast
Mar 31,2020

SHANGHAI, Mar 31 (SMM) – Shanghai base metals opened higher across the board on Tuesday, as US stocks extended its rally from its deep rout triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.


Data released around the opening bell showed that China’s manufacturing activity unexpectedly expanded in March. The National Bureau of Statistics said that purchasing managers’ index for China’s manufacturing sector climbed to 52.0 in March from 35.7 in February. PMI readings above 50 indicate expansion, while those below that level signal contraction.


London base metals rose briefly following the release of the upbeat data.


The People’s Bank of China on Tuesday will pump 20 billion yuan into the financial system via open market operations, after an injection of 50 billion yuan on Monday.


Overnight on the LME, base metals, except for tin and lead, closed higher overnight. Aluminium dropped 1.5% on the day to lead the losses, copper declined 1.2%, nickel fell 0.9% and zinc shed 0.5%. Lead gained 0.4% and tin rose 0.8%.

The SHFE kept its night trading session suspended.


Copper: Three-month LME copper opened lower and hovered in a tight range to end Monday trading lower at $4,756.5/mt.


Aluminium: Three-month LME aluminium resumed its downtrend on Monday, slipping to its lowest since April 2016 at $1,522/mt in North American trading hours before closing the day sharply lower at $1,529/mt. It is expected to move rangebound $1,520-1,570/mt today, with the most-active SHFE 2005 contract at 11,250-11,820 yuan/mt. East China spot discounts are seen slightly narrower at 90-70 yuan/mt against the SHFE 2004 contract, as the 2004-2005 spread flips into backwardation on expectations of tax cuts.


Zinc: Three-month LME zinc boomeranged, slipping to an intraday low of $1,838/mt in early European trading hours before rebounding to an intraday high of $1,881.5/mt in early North American trading hours. It later eased to finish the day lower at $1,864/mt, remaining above the five-day moving average. LME zinc is expected to move at $1,850-1,900/mt today, with the most-traded SHFE May contract at 14,800-15,300 yuan/mt. Spot premiums for domestic 0# Shuangyan are seen higher at 50-70 yuan/mt over the SHFE April contract, as some traders in Shanghai step up purchases on expectations that Beijing will cut taxes and fees.   


Nickel: Three-month LME nickel rose swiftly to its highest since March 20 at $11,455/mt in early Asian trading hours. It later eased, taking a breather at the 10-day moving average at $11,350/mt before slipping to $11,300/mt and closing the day lower at $11,315/mt. The five- and 10-day moving averages have converged, which will create strong support, while pressure is seen at $11,400/mt.


Lead: Three-month LME lead opened lower but climbed back to positive territory. It hit an intraday high of $1,715/mt in the North American trading session, before it closed the day higher at $1,699/mt. LME lead gained for three sessions in the past four sessions, and now faces pressure at the 20-day moving average.


Tin: Three-month LME tin hit a two-week high of $14,685/mt in North American trading hours, before giving back some gains to end the day higher at $14,400/mt. Immediate resistance is seen at a previous high of $14,500, with next resistance at $15,000/mt. 

Morning comments
For queries, please contact Frank LIU at
For more information on how to access our research reports, please email
Related Price

No Data