METALS MORNING VIEW 15/02: Metals prices add to this week's rebound gains

Metals prices on the London Metal Exchange are generally firmer this morning, Thursday February 15, with the complex up by an average of 0.5%.

Nickel leads with a 1.9% gain to $14,240 per tonne and tin prices lag with a 0.1% decline, while the rest are showing gains of between $0.50 and $20 per tonne, with copper prices up by 0.3% at $7,183 per tonne.

With the Lunar New Year break underway, volume has been light with 3,054 lots traded as of 06.38 am London time.

This follows a third day of strength, with prices closing up by an average of 2.1% on Wednesday, which saw nickel prices rally 4.1% to see levels not seen since May 2015.

Gold prices are consolidating this morning, down by 0.1% at $1,353.31 per oz, while silver ($16.91 per oz), platinum ($1,002.30 per oz) and palladium ($1,012.90 per oz) prices are up by 0.1%, 0.6% and 1.2% respectively. This follows strong gains on Wednesday when the complex closed up by an average of 1.8%.

Exchanges are closed in China for the Lunar New Year holiday and will not reopen until Thursday February 22.

In wider markets, spot Brent crude oil prices are rebounding, up by 1.08% at $65.03 per barrel. Stronger than expected US consumer price index (CPI) data on Wednesday gave bond yields a boost, with the yield on US 10-year treasuries firmer at 2.92%, as is the German 10-year bund yield at 0.77%.

Only a few equity markets are open in Asia - the Nikkei is up by 1.47% and the ASX 200 is up by 1.16%. This follows a strong performance in western markets on Wednesday, where in the United States the Dow Jones closed up by 1.03% at 24,893.49, and in Europe where the Euro Stoxx 50 closed up by 0.87% at 3,369.83.

Despite the pick-up in inflation data, the dollar index continues to weaken and was recently quoted at 88.84 - the low being 88.43 on January 25 and the recent high being 90.57 on February 9. The euro (1.2469), sterling (1.4014) and the Australian dollar (0.7872) are firmer, while the yen (106.38) is at its highest since November 16. The emerging currencies we follow are stronger, suggesting little concern about stronger US yields.

Economic data out already showed a pick-up in Japan’s revised industrial production to 2.9% from 2.7% and a 7.1% rise in EU passenger car registrations in January, compared with January 2017. Data out later includes Italian trade balance, US producer price index (PPI), Empire State Manufacturing Index, initial jobless claims, industrial production and utilization rate, NAHB Housing Market Index, natural gas storage and Treasury International Capital (TIC) long-term purchases.

The extent of the rebounds in base metals so far this week, after last week’s weakness, suggests underlying sentiment is bullish, which has been our base case for a long time now. We remain bullish on the back of concerted global growth combined with a constrained producer supply response following the capital expenditure cuts seen between 2012 and 2015. Trading during the Lunar New Year holidays is likely to be nervous, especially as US bond yields are on the rise, but for now emerging markets are now showing concern, no doubt as stronger growth will help countries repay debt.

Precious metals prices have also rebounded strongly, suggesting commodities are in vogue and it may be that gold also offers the extra benefit of being a haven in case equity and bond markets get more nervous again.

Metal Bulletin publishes live futures reports throughout the day, covering major metals exchanges news and prices.



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