LME copper price recovers 1.2%; lead continues to buck the trend

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were mostly higher during morning trading on Monday February 12, with the complex attempting to rebound from last week’s choppy trading conditions.

The three-month copper price has recovered $89 and is trading back above $6,800 per tonne after dropping to a low of $6,733 per tonne last Friday.

“A strong open to the new week… led by copper that gapped on the open on what feels like Chinese short-covering ahead of the holidays,” Marex Spectron’s report said.

“Outside of some regional demand from arb and speculative traders ahead of Chinese New Year it is hard to pinpoint exactly why copper has rallied to the extent that it has but shorts have been forced to cover and there is undoubtedly a fear of missing out on a potentially bigger rally,” it added.

The dollar is back in negative territory which is also helping prices recoup some of their recent losses, but the rest of the complex is struggling to rally as high as copper.

Nickel prices continue to find support above $13,000 per tonne and recovered $135 – with tightened availability of nickel stocks underpinning prices. LME nickel stocks fell a net 1,044 tonnes this morning – the 15th consecutive day of declines.

The three-month aluminium price edged $11 per tonne but any strong rebound from Friday’s 2% fall was capped by a 22,000 tonne delivery into LME-listed warehouses in Asia.

“All eyes are on whether the global sell-off last week has run its course and with the Lunar New Year also getting under way this week, trading is likely to remain nervous and choppy,” Metal Bulletin analyst William Adams said.

Lead continues to trade in the opposite direction to the rest of the complex. After being the only metal in positive territory at Friday’s 5pm close – it is now the only metal to be trading lower this morning, falling $16.50 per tonne.

Base metals prices 

  • The three-month copper price was up $89 compared to Friday’s close price at $6,844 per tonne. Stocks declined a net 2,375 tonnes to 333,850 tonnes with 3,025 tonnes freshly cancelled.
  • Aluminium’s three-month price climbed $11 to $2,134 per tonne. Inventories increased 19,475 tonnes to 1,116,575 tonnes.
  • The three-month nickel price increased $135 to $13,105 per tonne. Stocks dipped 1,044 tonnes to 231,160 tonnes.
  • Zinc’s three-month price was most recently trading at $3,402 per tonne, an increase of $17. Inventories declined 2,700 tonnes to 156,950 tonnes.
  • The three-month lead price declined $16.50 to $2,517.50 per tonne. Stocks declined 1,450 tonnes to 123,825 tonnes.
  • Tin’s three-month price was $175 higher at $21,200 per tonne. Inventories increased 80 tonnes to 1,925 tonnes.

Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index was most recently down 0.12% to 90.22.
  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price was up 2.02% to $63.84 per barrel.
  • There are no major data releases today, but market participants will likely be keeping a close eye on the release of consumer inflation data from the United States later this week.
  • “US CPI data are likely to be the focus for markets this week given that inflation worries have been one of the triggers behind the recent equity and bond tumult,” ANZ Research noted on Monday.