Metals trading on the Shanghai futures market has started to go quiet, with investors growing cautious as China battles to control the spread of covid-19 in its industrial heartland.
Trading volumes in copper, aluminum and zinc on the Shanghai Futures Exchange all fell to the lowest level since Feb. 7, while turnover in nickel also dropped below average.
China, the world’s largest base metals producer and consumer, is fighting its worst coronavirus outbreak in two years. Lockdowns — in the country’s industrial bases such as the top steelmaking hub of Tangshan, as well as the commercial center of Shanghai — have hit all aspects of life, from logistics to manufacturing to consumption.
As well as the lockdowns in China, the war in Europe and Federal Reserve rate hikes are clouding the outlook for prices. Nickel trading has slumped in Shanghai after rival London Metal Exchange halted trading of the metal after an epic short squeeze propelled prices to record highs. Trading is finally normalizing on the LME, with prices moving back in line with Shanghai.
Global base metal prices surged earlier this month to records before pulling back. The war between Russia and Ukraine continued to deepen concerns over commodity supplies including wheat, oil, nickel, aluminum and copper.
Copper was flat at 73,090 yuan ($11,477) a ton in Shanghai at the midday trading break after a five-day winning streak. Other metals were mostly higher, with nickel up 1.6% to 210,130 yuan. In London, zinc and aluminum gained with copper steady.