Chinese metals mixed on copper contract drop; lead gains as frigid weather persists

Updated 2018-01-04 13:30:20 Global Times/Agencies

Chinese base metals were mixed in trade on Wednesday as the most-active copper contract slipped, while lead gained the sharpest as parts of the US braced for more frigid weather.

On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the cu1801 copper contract slipped nearly 0.5 percent to 54,660 yuan (,401) a ton at 3 pm, while the pb1801 lead contract rose 1.4 percent to 19,210 yuan a ton.

The peak demand period for lead, which is largely used to make batteries, is during winter seasons when freezing weather conditions cause batteries to fail.

Commodities traders said mixed signals were also emerging over the extent of China's demand for imported industrial metals in 2018, dampening activity among some local investors.

Optimism about Chinese demand was boosted overnight by an unexpected December rise in manufacturing and a pickup in new orders.

But higher prices for raw materials and firms cutting staff have fueled concerns about growth.

However, Goldman Sachs said it sees more risks to the upside than the downside for metals demand in China, playing down concerns of a sharp decline from policy changes.

"Concern about a sharp slowdown in metals demand as the country adopts a new 'quality over quantity' growth model may be overblown," the bank said, adding that metal producers apart from China are set to gain.

"Ongoing supply-side reforms and environmental cuts in China translate into higher commodity prices and less Chinese production, both of which benefit ex-China producers."

Over the next six months, Goldman sees an upside to demand for zinc and over the longer term says it prefers copper to aluminum.

The bank has forecast copper at ,500 per ton and aluminum at ,900 a ton in 2020.

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