Base metal prices lower, volumes low as LME Week kicks in – LME OPEN

Base metals prices were mostly lower before the London open, with volumes lower than usual as the annual LME Week kicks in this Monday.

Japanese stocks led a rally in Asia today after last Friday’s solid US data and earnings helped to shift the downcast mood on the market earlier in the week. The benchmark Nikkei 225 is up close to four percent, its biggest gain this year.

Data out last Friday showed the consumer sentiment index for October edged higher to 86.4 from 84.6, reaching the highest level since July 2007. As well, housing starts numbers rebounded in September after disappointing results in August – New housing starts and new building permits both rose to an annualised rate of 1.02 million units, up from the previous month.

The upbeat US data brought some calm to markets after a week of sharp downward spikes in the equities markets as signs of softening global growth worried investors.

For the week ahead, attention would turn to China, which is due to release several key economic indicators across the entire week. On Tuesday, industrial production is expected to have grown 7.5 percent from the previous 6.9 percent while GDP for 3Q is expected to come in at 7.2 percent, below the central government’s target of 7.5 percent. On Thursday, the preliminary HSBC China Manufacturing PMI will cast some clarity on China’s economic growth.

“It has yet to be seen whether targeted stimulus measures announced during past months have been successful at slowing the structural property sector growth deceleration. There certainly remains a risk that economic activity will remain soft also in Q4, which would spur additional targeted measures,” said Credit Suisse in a research note.

In the metals, the copper price is lower by $38 today at $6,602 per tonne nearing support levels. Volumes are lower than usual, with just around 2,100 contracts done.

In others, aluminium was trading at a price of $1,964, down $8, while zinc lost $6 at $2,242 per tonne. Lead business at $2,028 is almost flat; nickel at $15,620 lost $80 this morning while tin was the only outlier in the group to see price rise $42 to $19,347 per tonne.