July 30, 2020 / 4:06 AM / 8 days ago

METALS-Shanghai aluminium hits over 2-year high on strong China demand

(Updates prices)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, July 30 (Reuters) - Shanghai aluminium prices touched a more than two-year high on Thursday, fuelled by a better-than-expected recovery in top consumer China and hopes of sustained demand in the next few months.

The most-traded September aluminium contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended up 1.8% at 14,720 yuan a tonne, after hitting its highest since April 2018 of 14,805 yuan ($2,114.21) earlier in the session.

London Metal Exchange’s three-month copper rose 0.3% to $1,729.50 a tonne by 0708 GMT.

“A V-shaped recovery in China props up demand and prices for the metal more than we had anticipated,” Fitch Solutions said in a report, revising its three-month LME aluminium average price forecast for 2020 to $1,690 a tonne from $1,600 earlier.

But growing U.S.-China trade tension and a global resurgence of coronavirus cases posed risks, it added.

China’s finance ministry on Wednesday set an end-October deadline for local governments to complete issuance of special bonds, often used to fund infrastructure projects that consume large amounts of industrial metals.

The U.S. dollar dropped to a two-year trough, making greenback-priced LME metals more attractive to buyers holding other currencies, as the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero to support the economy.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Aluminium inventories in ShFE warehouses AL-STX-SGH were last at 222,498 tonnes, a 58%-drop from the 2020 peak in March, but LME stockpiles MALSTX-TOTAL were hovering around their highest level since April 2017.

* Domestic Chinese aluminium prices SMM-ALU-ING rose to a two-week high of 14,780 yuan a tonne, after hitting 15,320 yuan a tonne on July 13, their highest since November 2017.

* LME copper eased 0.4% to $6,450.50 a tonne, while ShFE copper fell 0.2% to 51,690 yuan a tonne. ShFE zinc jumped 2% to 18,745 yuan a tonne and nickel advanced 1.6% to 111,340 yuan a tonne.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or ($1 = 7.0026 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Uttaresh.V and Rashmi Aich)

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