LME metals consolidate, nickel pauses after upside break

Base metals prices veered either side of overnight closing values during routine London Metal Exchange pre-market trading on Tuesday October 10, consolidating current levels as the market took stock of China’s post-holiday business resumption, traders said.

“It is a bit sideways today – some light turnovers and no real follow through coming from Asia this morning,” one trader said.

Among the metals, nickel marked time back under $11,000 per tonne, following Monday’s advance to a three-week high, while copper see-sawed around the $6,700-per-tonne level after hitting a one-month high.

“The markets are not doing too bad at all … the likes of zinc and copper are looking OK for more [upside],” a second trader said.

In the short term, the metals may see some more monthly investment fund roll business, then gear up for the end-month annual LME Dinner week events.

Markets experienced a boost with the Chinese returning from the Golden Week holiday. However, many will likely await the decisions of the Communist Party Congress meeting next week in Beijing on infrastructure spending, stimulus plans and so on.

“The base metals seem well placed to work higher again, but these already high prices are attracting scale-up selling,” Metal Bulletin analyst William Adams said.

Copper holds fire under one-month highs

  • The three-month copper price initially extended Monday’s moves and hit $6,735 per tonne, its best since early-September, before settling back at $6,677, still $11 higher than Monday’s close.
  • “Copper is really looking to have a go at the psychological $7,000 level now,” the second trader said.
  • Meanwhile, warehouse stocks declined a net 1,125 tonnes to 289,875 tonnes.


Nickel positive on charts

  • The three-month nickel price was trading at $10,915, down $100 from the Monday close, which was the best since late-September and the culmination of a 4% advance.
  • “There were a few technical signals hit then, so it is a nice chart move,” the first trader said.
  • Inventories fell a chunky 1,044 tonnes to 383,820 tonnes.

Others mostly lower

  • The three-month zinc price traded at $3,222 per tonne, down $11, while stocks climbed 2,200 tonnes to 260,775 tonnes.
  • The three-month lead market dipped to $2,491, a $21 loss – inventories were 300 tonnes lower at 154,575 tonnes.
  • The three-month aluminium price eased $11.50 to $2,162 per tonne. Stocks dropped 3,400 tonnes to 1,239,050 tonnes.
  • The three-month tin price was up $80 at $20,850 per tonne, with stocks rising 25 tonnes to 1,995 tonnes.


Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index was down 0.27% to 93.46
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price was up 0.7% to $56.16 per barrel as of 10:59 BST.
  • In European data today, French August industrial production dropped 0.3%, against a forecast 0.4% increase. But the Italian reading for the same month rose a better-than-expected 1.2%. UK industrial production rose by 0.2%, while manufacturing production was up by 0.4%
  • Later, US data includes the NFIB small business index and IBD/TIPP economic optimism.
  • In addition, US Federal Open Market Committee member Neel Kashkari is speaking.