LIVE FUTURES REPORT 03/09: LME nickel price tumbles 3.3% in downbeat morning trade; tin holds recent gains

The three-month nickel price on the London Metal Exchange was the laggard during morning trading on Thursday September 3, with price action correcting by more than 3% despite both outflows and freshly canceled material, while tin was the only metal to hold recent price gains against subdued buying sentiment.

Nickel’s outright price on the LME was recently trading at $15,195 per tonne, falling from an intra-morning high of $15,810 per tonne, while turnover was high at more than 5,000 lots exchanged as of 9.25am London time.

Yet selling pressure in LME nickel comes despite positive services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data out of both China and Germany, with China’s August Caixin services PMI level recorded in line with expectations at 54, while the German level impressed, coming in at 52.5 and exceeding the expected 50.8 for August.

For nickel, forward spreads have been volatile in recent weeks, with the metal’s benchmark cash/three-month spread recently widening to $30.25 per tonne contango, from $24 per tonne contango on Wednesday.

This morning also saw some 912 tonnes of nickel removed out of LME-registered warehouses in Singapore, while a fresh cancellation of some 1,008 tonnes was seen out of both Singapore and Kaohsiung sheds.

“Nickel tried edging higher but it does not seem ready to make an attack on the $16,000-per-tonne level and indeed the rest of the metals just seemed to tag along for the ride,” Kingdom Futures director and chief executive Malcolm Freeman said in a morning note.

“Asian investors did not seem at all interested in metals this morning, and in general, the Asian equities were subdued as the news came out that Australia has slipped into recession for the first time in thirty years,” he added.

Elsewhere in the complex, steady buying in LME tin kept the metal’s three-month price elevated over the morning, with the metal’s three-month price recently seen at $18,380 per tonne, while turnover was strong at more than 300 lots exchanged as of 9.45am London time.

Still, upward price action in LME tin comes despite a steady rise in LME stocks, with a 55-tonne inflow today seeing total on-warrant material climb 5,185 tonnes, while the metal’s cash/three-month spread remains in backwardation, recently at $20.43 per tonne.

That said, end-use demand for tin continues to improve, with electronics sales out of Asia continuing to improve, particularly out of Taiwan, where electronics sales improved by 15.5% over July.

Other highlights

  • In other commodities, Brent crude oil futures were down by 1.60%, recently trading at $43.70 per barrel.
  • The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was recently at $40.90 per barrel, a decline of 1.97%.
  • Meanwhile, the US dollar index remained in negative territory, recently trading at 92.79.
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