A significant recovery in the dollar over the past few days has continued to curb investors’ appetite for the base metals in general.
The dollar index reached a high of 90.75 earlier in the day - its highest since January 18. The recent low being 88.24 on February 16, which was the lowest point since late 2014.
“The base metals complex has retreated on the back of a stronger dollar index after US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell maintained his hawkish rhetoric during his testimony on Tuesday to Congress,” Metal Bulletin analyst Andy Farida said.
“Furthermore, the stronger-than-expected CB consumer confidence data for February supported the dollar index to erode psychological resistance at 90.00,” he added.
Meanwhile, rising copper stock levels at SHFE warehouses have further compounded the gloomy sentiment surrounding the red metal.
SHFE copper stocks totaled 218,532 tonnes on February 23, up by 20,773 tonnes from the 197,759 tonnes recorded on February 14 - the last trading day before Chinese New Year holiday (February 15-21).
“Approaching March, downstream consumption is expected to improve and ease the stock pressure. However, there are concerns that the market will remain volatile as a result of the sharp decline in US equities and rebound in the dollar,” Citic Futures Research said.
Base metals prices under pressure; aluminium, zinc most resilient
- The SHFE April aluminium contract price inched 10 yuan higher to 14,335 yuan per tonne.
- The SHFE April zinc contract price gained 45 yuan to 26,445 yuan per tonne.
- The SHFE April lead contract price declined 85 yuan to 19,120 yuan per tonne
- The SHFE May tin contract price fell 550 yuan to 147,520 yuan per tonne.
- The SHFE May nickel contract price slid 750 yuan to 104,260 yuan per tonne.
Currency moves and data releases
- The dollar index was little changed at 90.7 as of 10.14am Shanghai time.
- In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price was down by 0.21% to $64.58 per barrel as of 09.57am Shanghai time.
- In equities, the Shanghai Composite was up by 0.35% to 3270.82 as of 10.49 am Shanghai time.
- In US data on Wednesday, preliminary gross domestic product (GDP) for the final quarter of 2017 was in line with expectations with growth of 2.5%. Meanwhile, the Chicago purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell 3.8 points to 61.9 in February, down from 65.7 in January, to the lowest level since August 2017. US new home sales in January also fell considerably with a decline of 4.7%, reaching their lowest level in over three years at 104.6.
- In data today, China’s Caixin manufacturing PMI rose to 51.6 from 51.5 previously, also besting the forecast print of 51.2.
- A flurry of data is expected later including manufacturing PMI releases out across Europe and the United States. Other US data of note includes the core PCE Price Index, personal spending and unemployment claims.
- In addition, US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell will give his second testimony to the Senate Banking Committee today.
|LME snapshot at 02.14am London time|
|Latest three-month LME Prices|
|Price ($ per tonne)||Change since yesterday's close ($)|
|SHFE snapshot at 10.13am Shanghai time|
|Most-traded SHFE contracts|
|Price (yuan per tonne)||Change since yesterday's close (yuan)|
|Changjiang spot snapshot on March 1|
|Range (yuan/t)||Change (yuan)|
|Aluminium||14,130 — 14,170||120|