This comes after a day of gains on Wednesday when the base metals complex closed up an average of 0.7%, led by a 1.2% gain in nickel prices to $10,225 per tonne, while copper was up 0.1% at $6,354 per oz.

Precious metals are split this morning – bullion prices are off 0.2%, with spot gold prices at $1,262.39 per oz, while platinum prices are up 0.4% and palladium prices are up 0.1%. Wednesday also saw weakness in gold and silver prices, while the PGMs were slightly firmer.

On the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) this morning, the metals are up across the board with average gains of 1.3%, led by a 2.3% gain in zinc, with lead up 2%, nickel up 1.7% and copper prices up 0.6% at 50,530 yuan ($7,512) per tonne. Spot copper prices in Changjiang are up 0.5% at 50,050-50,300 yuan per tonne and the LME/Shanghai copper arb ratio is firmer at 7.96.

In other metals in China, September iron ore prices on the Dalian Commodity Exchange are firmer by 0.9% at 570.50 yuan per tonne. On the SHFE, steel rebar prices are up 1.8%, while gold and silver prices are off either side of 0.5%.

In international markets, spot Brent crude oil prices are down 0.4% at $55.05 per barrel, the yield on US ten-year treasuries is little changed at 2.26%, as is the German ten-year bund yield at 0.49%.

Equities were mixed on Wednesday with the Euro Stoxx 50 closing down 0.5% and the Dow closed up 0.2%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite were little changed. Asian markets are weaker, led by a 1.7% drop in the Kospi, with the Nikkei down 0.3%, the Hang Seng is off 0.2%, the Kospi is up 0.2%, the CSI 300 is down 0.7% and the ASX 200 is off 0.2%.

The dollar index extended its losses yesterday dropping to 92.53, it was recently quoted at 92.96, the euro ran up to 1.1908 yesterday, but is consolidating today at 1.1842, sterling is firm at 1.3217, the yen is consolidating at 110.66 and the Australian dollar is weaker at 0.7921. The yuan at 6.7252 is little changed, but it is trending higher, the rupee is stronger at 63.635, the peso is weaker and the rand at 13.2500 is consolidating recent weakness.

Today is a busy day for economic data, China’s Caixin services PMI dipped to 51.5 from 51.6, there is services PMI out across Europe and the USA, as well as an ECB economic bulletin and EU retail sales. In the UK, the Bank of England is setting interest rates and reporting on inflation, monetary policy, its asset purchase facility and voting record and governor Mark Carney is speaking. US data includes Challenger jobs cuts, unemployment claims, factory orders and natural gas storage.

Nickel and lead have taken over the lead on the upside, while the others are consolidating Wednesday’s gains. All the metals with the exception of aluminium and zinc have upward momentum, while aluminium and zinc are stuck in sideways ranges. We remain mildly bullish for the base metals complex.

Gold prices are consolidating recent gains, they are in the upper half of the $1,200-$1,300 per oz sideways range that prices have been oscillating in since March. Silver prices continue to follow gold, platinum is looking stronger, while palladium prices appear to have been turned back selling above $900 per oz.

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