Very short term (1M):  Flat
Short term (3M): Flat
Medium term (6M): Flat
Long term (12M): Flat
R1 $2,595 recent high
R2 $2,721 Oct 24 high
R3 $3,220 Jun 6 high
R4 $3,595.50 2018 high
R5 $3,780 Jul 2007 high
S1 $2,527 100 DMA
S2 $2,290 Sep 17 low
$2,283 Aug 15 low
About to turn

BB – Bollinger band
Fibo – Fibonacci retracement level
HSL – horizontal support line
SL – support line
MACD – moving average convergence divergence
U/DTL – up/downtrend line
H&S – head-and-shoulder pattern
RSI – relative strength index

  • The rebound momentum stalled on Monday January 21 after LME zinc  failed to take out the previous daily high at $2,595 per tonne.
  • Still, the metal is trading well above the three key DMAs and the series of higher highs and lows are still intact for now. 
  • The daily RSI and stochastic lines also remain in bullish territory. This should offer buyers some confidence that there may be some short-term gains ahead. 
  • But zinc needs more buying to emerge soon to target the December 2018 high. Taking out this resistance level should unlock further gains towards the declining 200 DMA.
Macro drivers
Base metals prices were visibly weaker this morning while global investors digest the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) report. The group cut its global growth forecast to 3.5% in 2019, warning that economic activity could fall short of expectations if trade tensions persist between the United States and China. It added that the risk to global growth has tilted to the downside, with risk sentiment vulnerable to a potential no-deal Brexit and a rapid slowdown in Chinese economy.

The domestic Chinese zinc concentrate market should be in a surplus of 269,000 tonnes thanks to strong imports of 1.465 million tonnes, the largest in the last three years, Antaike reported. The imports are offsetting the fall in Chinese output to 4.172 million tonnes in 2018 from 4.3 million tonnes in 2017, highlighting that strict environmental inspections on illegal mines are proving effective. This meshes with the latest ILZSG data showing a decline in Chinese mine output in the first 10 months of 2018 of 6.7% from the corresponding period of last year.

Chinese zinc smelters are still reluctant to bring back on stream fully shuttered capacity while the LME price remained depressed. The build-up in shuttered capacity has hit availability of refined metal - hence the low on-warrant stocks at SHFE-bonded warehouses. Antaike estimates the deficit in the domestic refined market at around 9,000 tonnes in 2018.

Still, Antaike expects stronger mining and refined output - rising availability from domestic mines as well as restarts and ramp-ups of zinc mines outside China will play key roles. Consequently, treatment charges (TCs) will increase from levels that have been too low to persuade smelters to produce more refined metal. Fastmarkets assessed the spot concentrate TC cif China at $210-230 per tonne on December 28, up from $120-140 at the end of October. With TCs rising to new highs, Chinese smelters could reconsider a restart although most are still well stocked for now and fairly reluctant to bring back large-scale purchasing of zinc concentrates.

But expectations of rising supply of refined zinc amid the current global uncertainties are questionable. US-China negotiations continue but the negative impact from their trade war has shown up in soft data. Weak Chinese apparent demand among galvanizers could last indefinitely; when combined with fragile domestic business confidence, the negative demand outlook for the metal could worsen.

Some selling pressure has emerged this morning; we expect LME zinc to consolidate recent gains and retest key technical support at the 100 DMA.

All trades or trading strategies mentioned in the report are hypothetical, for illustration only and do not constitute trading recommendations.