China to auction first batch of state metal reserves on July 5-6

Beijing, China. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

China’s state reserves administration on Tuesday said it would publicly auction a total of 100,000 tonnes of non-ferrous metals early next month in the first round of a rare and highly anticipated release of its stockpiles.

The National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said in three separate notices it would auction 20,000 tonnes of copper, 30,000 tonnes of zinc and 50,000 tonnes of aluminium on July 5-6.

The amount of zinc being sold is equivalent to 5.7% of China’s monthly production, based on official data for May. For copper, the auctioned volume is 2.3% of May’s refined output and for aluminium it is 1.5%.

All three metals were trading higher in Tuesday’s night session on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

The release of state metal reserves in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, is one of a number of attempts by Beijing to cool a stellar rally in commodity prices that has squeezed manufacturers’ margins.

The copper and zinc sales will take place on an online platform belonging to state-owned miner and metals trader China Minmetals Corp, while the aluminium auction will be on a site operated by another state-run firm, Norinco, the notices show.

The bidding hours will be from 8 a.m.-12 p.m (0000-0400 GMT) and 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (0500-1000 GMT). It was not immediately clear what the starting price in each auction would be.

Companies wishing to bid must be involved in processing and manufacturing and should register on the e-bidding platform by 4 p.m. on June 27, the notices said.

Breakdowns of the batches of copper, zinc and aluminium to be sold showed all of the metal had entered storage after 2008 and was currently located in warehouses across China.

Bidders are able to inspect the quality of the metal in warehouses on June 30 and July 1 provided they have put down a deposit and arranged a viewing.

(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Writing by Tom Daly; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Bernadette Baum and Edmund Blair)


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