Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were mixed during Asian morning trading on Thursday December 13, with easier trade tensions between China and the United States failing to provide significant upward momentum to the complex.Moves were fairly limited across the SHFE base metals complex this morning with the metals showing only a slight upward bias; copper, aluminium, zinc and tin were all marginally higher, while the rest edged down.

Market sentiment was bolstered by further signs of easing global trade tensions; media reports on Wednesday said that China is planning to replace its signature “Made in China 2025” initiative with a new program that promises greater access for foreign enterprises.

“The Wall Street Journal reported that China is planning on giving foreign firms more access to its markets, and that drafting of a replacement for the “Made in China 2025” plan is underway. Sources said a key concession under the plan would be dropping numerical targets for market share by Chinese companies,” ANZ Research said on Thursday.

But a growing diplomatic spat between China and Canada following the arrest of a Chinese Huawei executive in the latter country last week dampened any positivity stemming from the US-China trade developments.

“News that China had detained an ex-Canadian diplomat helped temper the enthusiasm that other developments in the US-China trade talks had created…,” ANZ Research added.

As such, base metals prices on the SHFE remained confined to narrow ranges this morning.

The most-traded February copper contract on the SHFE traded at 49,220 yuan ($7,146) per tonne as at 10.37am Shanghai time, up by 0.3% or 140 yuan per tonne from Wednesday’s close.

Tin was the top performer of the SHFE complex, however, supported by a backdrop of looming supply tightness; the most-traded May tin contract was up by 0.4% at 146,480 yuan per tonne as at 10.37am Shanghai time.

“China’s refined output is set to contract this quarter because of a growing decline in tin concentrate shipments from Myanmar, China’s primary source of raw material. The [International Tin Association] therefore expects China’s refined tin production to tumble by 29% year on year in the final quarter,” Fastmarkets analyst Boris Mikanikrezai said.

“The complete halt of tin trades on the [Indonesia Commodity & Derivatives Exchange] since November 14 may have material implications for global supply because it removes 5,000-6,000 tonnes per month from the market, which is around 15-20% of monthly global consumption. There is plenty of uncertainty about how long the stoppage will last. The full tightness should be felt from 2019,” Mikanikrezai added.