China to auction 150,000 tonnes of metal from state reserves on 1 Sept, 2021

China’s state reserves administration said it would sell off a total 150,000 tonnes of its strategic metal stockpiles via public bidding today on 1 September, in the third round of auctions aimed at cooling high prices.

The National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said in three separate notices it would auction 30,000 tonnes of copper, 50,000 tonnes of zinc and 70,000 tonnes of aluminum.

The rare series of state reserve sales has so far seen a total of 270,000 tonnes of the three metals released. The last auction on 29 July saw the administration sell 170,000 tonnes of metal, including 90,000 tonnes of aluminum.

It was expected that due to rise in coronavirus cases, the Chinese administration would not release metals in August. The administration, however, insisted it would keep releasing reserves because prices were still high and causing problems for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The bidding is only open to metal processors and manufacturers.

Shanghai copper prices closed at 69,130 yuan ($10,664) per tonne last week, some 12% below a record 78,560 yuan hit in May, while zinc is down around 5.1% from its May high. Shanghai aluminum, however, hit a 13-year peak on Friday on concerns of tight supply.

As with previous auctions, the copper and zinc bidding will be conducted on a China Minmetals Corp platform, while the aluminum will be sold on a portal operated by another state firm, Norinco. Almost 4,600 tonnes of the aluminum on offer dates back to the 1970s, having entered storage in 1975-76 after being produced in Canada, Australia, France and – in the case of a tiny batch of 0.89 tonnes – West Germany. The oldest zinc being sold entered storage in 1983 and the oldest copper in 1981.

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