Short term
(1-3M):
Flat
Medium term
(3-6M):
Down
Long term
12M):
Flat
Resistances:
R1 2,273 200 DMA
R2 2,542 100 DMA 
R3 2,701 40 DMA
R4 2,792 20 DMA
R5 2,844 Nov 30 high
R6 2,958 Apr 2019 high
Support:
S1 2,792 20 DMA
S2 2,716 Nov 23 low
S3 2,701 40 DMA
S4 2,459.50 Jan 22 high
S5 2,389 76.4% Fibo Mar-Sep rally
S6 2,356 Aug 10 low
Stochastics:
Converging in high ground


Legend:

BB - Bollinger band
DMA - daily moving average
HSL - Horizontal support line
SL - support line
MACD - Moving average convergence divergence
DTL - downtrend line
UTL - Uptrend line
H&S - Head-and-shoulder pattern
RSI - relative strength index



Analysis
  • The LME three-month zinc price has again made a positive start to trading on Thursday December 17, although the upper shadows formed on the recent daily candlesticks imply that persistent overhead resistance continues to limit upside momentum.
  • Still, the momentum indicators remain supportive. The stochastics have crossed higher in high ground, as has the RSI, which stands at 63.
  • Further support is seen from the 20 DMA at $2,792 per tonne, ahead of the October 2018 high of $2,728 per tonne. This stands ahead of the 40 DMA at $2,701 per tonne. There is further support from the September 1 high of $2,583 per tonne.  
  • While the inset monthly chart implies zinc could look to extend toward $3,340 per tonne based on the inverse H&S formed since October 2019, the price first needs to clear current stubborn resistance to avoid a retracement due to stalled momentum.
Macro drivers
LME zinc stocks totaled 211,475 tonnes on December 16, down from a peak of 222,975 tonnes on November 20, reflecting improved downstream demand. Currently, 10.4% of stocks are booked for removal.

The LME forward curve implies fresh gains have continued to encourage an element of forward selling. We maintain fresh highs are likely to encourage fresh forward selling.

Shanghai Futures Exchange zinc stocks totaled 46,681 tonnes in the week to December 11, an 8,829-tonne fall from a week earlier. The decline reflects the decision by some smelters to bring forward maintenance suspensions.

In our latest Base Metals Tracker, we examine the outlook for mine production in the year ahead. Based on the latest guidance in addition to our assumption for a modest increase in Chinese mine production, we project global mine production to total 13.3 million tonnes in 2021, an increase of 1.1 million tonnes or 9.3% on year. Compared with 2019, however, the growth is more modest at 3.9% or around 500,000 tonnes. When adjusted for our base case disruption allowance of 4%, global production of 12.86 million tonnes is essentially unchanged on the 2019 level. And although authorities have begun to roll out coronavirus vaccines, the threat of another year of above-average disruptions remains high; applying our high-case disruption rate of 6%, we see global production declining by around 300,000 tonnes or 2.3% from 2019 levels.

Against this background, conditions in the zinc concentrate market are set to remain tight for longer. Spot TCs look set to remain under pressure in the run-up to Chinese New Year (February 12, 2021), which will continue to lend a downward bias to annual benchmark negotiations. This will increase pressure on smelter margins; some Chinese smelters have opted to bring forward maintenance suspensions because of increasingly unfavorable margins. For now, we maintain our forecast for refined zinc production to increase by 3% in 2021 to 13.95 million tonnes, although risks appear tilted to the downside.

In the physical market, premiums in Southeast Asia and Europe edged slightly higher in the week to December 15 amid tight availability.

Additionally, the International Lead & Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) pegged the refined zinc market in a 479,600-tonne surplus in the first 10 months of 2020. In contrast, reported stocks increased by only 178,000 tonnes over the same period, which implies 301,600 tonnes of metal moved into off-market storage. 

Conclusion
The current chart configuration remains supportive and implies room for further gains across the short and long term, although we would not rule out a profit-taking-led pullback ahead of the end of the year.

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