Price curbs in China spooks base industrial metals

Most industrial metals declined last week, after China said it would strengthen its management of commodity supply and demand to curb “unreasonable” increases in prices. The world’s biggest metals consumer will step up adjustments on the trade and stockpiling of commodities and reinforce inspections on both the spot and futures markets, state media reported the cabinet meeting as deciding.

China is also expected to will crack down on malicious trading and investigate behaviour that bids up prices, according to the report. The move came as a jump in commodities prices, including a 29 per cent year-to-date rise in LME copper, fuelled higher inflation in some major economies and threatened the sustainability of a nascent global economic recovery from the pandemic-driven slump.

The most-traded June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) dropped as much as 3.8 per cent to 72,150 yuan ($11,213.52) a tonne, its lowest since April 30, while aluminium fell to a near three-week low of 18,800 yuan a tonne. ShFE nickel fell 4.3 per cent to 127,550 yuan a tonne, zinc was down 3.7 per cent at 22,200 yuan a tonne and tin declined by 2.8 per cent to 193,690 yuan a tonne.

In London, three-month copper fell to a two-week low of $ 9,969 a tonne, aluminium declined by 0.4 per cent and nickel was down by 0.3 per cent at $ 17,270 a tonne.

Chinese company Lygend Mining’s nickel and cobalt smelting project in Indonesia became the first high-pressure acid leach project in the country to reach production. Canadian company Teck Resources’ Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 copper project is shielded from higher levies for 15 years in Chile due to a stability agreement, its chief executive said.

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