LONDON, Jun 10 (.) – China plans to release state reserves of non-ferrous metals such as copper, aluminum and zinc in a program that will last until the end of 2021, according to data provider Shanghai Metal Exchange Market (SHMET) and analysts. Chinese.
State-backed think tank Antaike said on Friday that market speculation about a sale had been “partially verified,” but there is no official document outlining the plan.
China, the world’s largest consumer of metals, rarely sells its state reserves and the market is watching closely to see what difference a supply release would make.
SHMET said the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration would offer the metal directly to downstream users at the end of each month.
Reservations management declined to comment.
Neither SHMET nor Antaike declared what tonnages of metal would be released, although Antaike suggested that selling more than 800,000 tonnes of aluminum would have a large price impact in the short term, while just 300,000 tonnes or less could end up pushing prices.
Aluminum in Shanghai rose as much as 3.8% to 19,200 yuan ($ 3,002) a ton on Friday, the highest level since May 20, on speculation that China will release less aluminum than expected.
Consulting firm CRU said in a note to clients this week that China was looking to release 800,000 to 900,000 tonnes of primary aluminum from its state reserves in batches, starting next month, citing local market contacts.
However, brokerage Shenyin & Wanguo Futures claimed in a note on Friday that China could sell around 80,000 tonnes of aluminum each month until the end of 2021, which would add up to just 560,000 tonnes.
The release will indirectly affect Chinese aluminum imports – which have tended to be higher than normal since the coronavirus disrupted trade flows last year – and thus affect aluminum prices in London, Antaike said in a note.
($ 1 = 6.3952 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala and Tom Daly; Edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)