Shanghai zinc, aluminum prices rally on supply concerns

Aluminum smelting (Image from archives)

Shanghai zinc and aluminum prices rallied on Wednesday, lifted by supply concerns due to production disruptions in Europe and China.

The most-traded September zinc contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was up 2.6% at 25,420 yuan ($3,753.25) a tonne, as of 0736 GMT, after having hit a two-month high of 25,935 yuan a tonne earlier.

ShFE aluminum, another energy-intensive metal, rose as much as 4.3% in its biggest gain since October 2021, before easing slightly to trade 3.75% higher at 18,660 yuan a tonne.

“Sentiment turned bullish as what’s happening in Europe and China is likely to tighten availability and drive up prices,” a trader said.

Norsk Hydro will close its majority-owned primary aluminum facility in Slovakia by the end of September because of high electricity prices, the company said on Wednesday.

European smelter Nyrstar said on Tuesday it would put its zinc smelting operations at Budel in the Netherlands on care and maintenance from Sept. 1. The Belgian company had already cut output by up to 50% at its three European zinc smelters.

Meanwhile, power controls in China amid its worst heatwave in 60 years have also sparked concerns over metal supply in the world’s top producer.

The southwestern Sichuan province ordered industrial users to suspend production from Aug. 15 until Aug. 20 to prioritize residential power supply, disrupting metal production including lithium, aluminum and zinc.

Aluminum production in neighboring city Chongqing has also been affected. But market participants estimated a limited impact for now as it is not a major metal producing region.

For 2022, ANZ research forecast a market deficit 750,000 tonnes for zinc, which is primarily used to galvanize iron and steel, due to energy-related production constraints and rising demand.

ShFE copper rose 0.3% to 61,960 yuan a tonne, nickel gained 0.2% to 172,680 yuan a tonne, and lead climbed 0.5% to 15,100 yuan a tonne.

LME aluminum increased 1% to $2,415 a tonne, zinc lost 1.8% to $3,607.50 a tonne, copper eased 0.2% to $7963 a tonne, and lead lost 0.5% to $2,152 a tonne.

($1 = 6.7728 Chinese yuan)

(By Siyi Liu and Mai Nguyen; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Subhranshu Sahu)

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