LIVE FUTURES REPORT 15/02: LME base metals prices broadly up on weaker dollar; China market closed

Base metals traded on the London Metal Exchange were broadly higher during Asian morning trading on Thursday February 15, though trading remained subdued with Chinese participants out for the week-long Lunar New Year break.

Copper and nickel prices led on the upside with aluminium and lead registering slight gains, helped by continued weakness in the dollar, while tin was unchanged and zinc was the only metal to lose ground so far this morning.

The three-month copper contract on the London Metal Exchange was up by 0.4% or $27 per tonne at $7,190 per tonne as of 11.36 am Shanghai time, compared with yesterday’s close, marking the largest increase across the LME base metals.

“A weaker dollar and the risk-on tone in markets generally saw base metals prices rise,” analysts with ANZ Research noted on Thursday.

The dollar remains in low ground; the index was little changed this morning but continues to hover below the 90 mark. It was recently quoted at 88.91, the low being 88.43 on January 25 and the recent high being 90.57 on February 9.

Chinese markets are closed through to next Wednesday for the Lunar New Year holiday. They will reopen on Thursday February 22.

Base metals prices
  • The LME’s three-month copper price was up by $27 to $7,190 per tonne.
  • The LME’s three-month aluminium price rose $5 to $2,182.50 per tonne.
  • The LME’s three-month lead price gained $12 to $2,591 per tonne
  • The LME’s three-month zinc price fell $4.50 to $3,563 per tonne.
  • The LME’s three-month nickel price edged up $40 to $14,140 per tonne.
  • The LME’s three-month tin price was unchanged at $21,550 per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases
  • The dollar index was up by 0.03% at 88.91 as of 11.53 am Shanghai time.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price rose by 0.78% to $64.84 per barrel and the Texas light sweet crude oil spot price increased by 0.89% to $61.30 per barrel.
  • In data on Wednesday, EU flash gross domestic product (GDP) was in line with expectations with a 0.6% increase, while industrial production surprised to the upside with a gain of 0.4%, compared with expected print of 0.1%.
  • Meanwhile, US data was mixed with the consumer price index (CPI) increasing by 0.5% in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, against a forecast 0.3% rise, but retail sales unexpectedly declined in January after the December print was revised lower. Overall sales fell by 0.3% last month versus an estimated 0.2% gain. US Crude oil inventories rose by 1.8 million barrels in the week to February 9.
  • Today, we have the EU’s trade balance and a raft of US data including January’s producer price index, the Empire State Manufacturing Index, the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index, unemployment claims, capacity utilization rate, industrial production and natural gas storage.

LME snapshot at 3:36am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session's close ($)
Copper 7,190 27
Aluminium 2,183 5
Lead 2,591 12
Zinc 3,563 -4.5
Tin 21,550 0
Nickel 14,140 40

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