LME base metals prices mostly lower amid thin trading, dollar bounce

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were mostly lower during the Asian morning trading session on Thursday October 5 amid quiet trading conditions and a recovery in the dollar.

The LME three-month zinc contract traded at $3,273 per tonne as of 03:42 BST, down $29 from Wednesday’s close, with only around 20 lots changing hands. On Wednesday, the three-month zinc price had hit $3,300 per tonne for the first time since August 2007 on renewed bullish sentiment amid further stock declines.

“Traders [in the commodities market] are likely to remain cautious leading up to this week’s US jobs report. However, liquidity will remain low with China’s markets closed,” ANZ Research said on Thursday.

With Chinese markets, including the Shanghai Futures Exchange, closed for the country’s National Day Golden Week holiday (October 2-6), trading has been quiet.

The dollar index halted its decline after the release of strong US economic data on Wednesday. The ADP non-farm employment change in September came in at 135,000, above an expected reading of 131,000, while the ISM non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for September stood at 59.8, higher than the forecast print of 55.5.

“The [ISM manufacturing] index is now at its highest since August 2005 and is a sign that the US economy is recovering quickly from hurricane-related disruptions,” National Australia Bank said on Thursday.

US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen did not comment on monetary policy in her opening remarks at a banking conference in St Louis, USA on Wednesday, however the dollar is generally seeing support from increased expectations of a US interest rate increase in December.

Base metals prices

  • The LME three-month copper price rose $3 to $6,524 per tonne.
  • The LME three-month aluminium price decreased $8 to $2,158 per tonne.
  • The LME three-month lead price dipped $29 to $2,531 per tonne.
  • The LME three-month nickel price edged up $10 to $10,625 per tonne
  • The LME three-month tin price slipped $25 to $20,750 per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index was up 0.02% to 93.49 as of 03:52 BST after reaching as low as 93.26 on Wednesday.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price rose 0.24% to $55.87 per barrel as of 03:52 BST.
  • In other US data on Wednesday, weekly crude oil inventories declined 6 million barrels, much higher than the expected 500,000-barrel fall.
  • Economic data of note today includes US unemployment claims, trade balance and factory orders. The US non-farm payrolls report due on Friday will also be closely watched by investors.
  • In addition, US Federal Open Market Committee members Jerome Powell and Patrick Harker are due to speak later.


LME snapshot at 0342 London time
Latest 3M  LME Prices
  Price ($/t)  Change since yesterday’s close ($)
Copper 6,524 3
Aluminium 2,158 -8
Lead 2,531 -29
Zinc 3,273 -29
Tin 20,750 -25
Nickel 10,625 10