Metals extend downside correction, copper falls to one-week lows

Base metals continued to correct lower from early-week multi-month highs during Wednesday LME premarket trading on technical sales, hampered also by burdensome macroeconomic prospects, traders said.

Copper fell away to its lowest for a week, not helped by another big warehouse inventory increase – overall, the complex looks more vulnerable on the downside now.

“Industrial metals gains continue to unravel this morning, following corrections seen through yesterday,” a trader said.

Economic uncertainty is stemming from the ramifications of global central bank support activity, lessening chances of US interest rate rises and the evolving European and global growth risks flowing from the the UK Brexit vote last month, he added.

For today, investors will be cautious because July traded options go off the board while the minutes of the last US FOMC meeting will be released later.

In data, German factory orders were flat while the EU June PMI was 48.5 against a forecast 50.6. Later, the US has its trade balance data, final services PMI and ISM non-manufacturing PMI figures scheduled.

In other markets, the dollar gained against the euro to around 1.1050 while equities were lower.

In the metals, copper fell as low as $4,716.50 before holding at $4,743 per tonne, down $74 on the previous close. Warehouse stocks rose heavily for the second day in a row, jumping a net 23,625 tonnes to 222,550 tonnes, the highest since mid-February.

This was due to warrantings of 11,275 tonnes in Busan, 3,850 tonnes in Gwangyang, 5,275 tonnes in New Orleans and 4,200 tonnes in Singapore, where there were 11,150 tonnes registered on Tuesday.

Aluminium at $1,653 was down $1; inventories declined 5,300 tonnes to 2,362,950 tonnes, the lowest again since January 2009.

Zinc business at $2,088 was down $23 – inventories held unchanged at 441,750 tonnes. Lead slipped to $1,798, a $31 loss, with stocks falling a modest 50 tonnes to 184,750 tonnes.

Nickel remained under $10,000 although recent trade at $9,730 was still up $25. Stocks rose 780 tonnes from what were the lowest since October 2014 to 377,628 tonnes.

Tin shed $130 to trade at $17,570, rebasing from the 16-month highs of $18,125 reached on Monday.   

Steel billet, cobalt and molybdenum were all neglected – stocks of the latter fell 12 tonnes to 84 tonnes, the lowest since October 2014.

(Additional reporting by Kathleen Retourne, editing by Mark Shaw)