LIVE FUTURES REPORT 05/07: SHFE base metals prices broadly range-bound; zinc, lead down over 1%

Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were mostly range-bound during morning trading on Friday July 5 while investors awaited the key US jobs report due later for possible clues on the Federal Reserve’s policy decision at the end of the month.

Tin, copper and aluminium recorded marginal gains of 0.1%, 0.2% and 0.3% respectively, while nickel was little changed. Zinc was the worst performer of the complex with a drop of 1.5%, with lead not too far behind with a decline of 1%.

Global markets were largely subdued by a national holiday in the United States on Thursday, and with no major data of note released that day, investors have turned their attention to the June US jobs report due later on Friday.

Of particular interest to investors will be the US non-farm payrolls release, which is expected to show that 162,000 jobs were added to the US economy in June after an increase of 75,000 jobs in the prior month.

A weaker-than-expected payrolls figure could increase expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at its meeting on July 30 and 31.

“A number in line with expectations is unlikely to deter market expectations for a Fed funds rate cut at the end of July. To some extent the Fed’s debate is really about whether a 25 or 50 [basis point] rate cut is in the offing and a soft print will most likely encourage the market to increase its expectations for a 50 [basis point] cut,” Rodrigo Catril, currency strategist at National Australia Bank, said on Friday.

The dollar index has also been range-bound this morning ahead of the all-important non-farm payrolls release.

The index, which measures the value of the US dollar against a basket of foreign currencies, has traded within a narrow range since hitting a high of 96.88 on Tuesday. The index was up by 0.05% at 96.76 as at 10.08am Shanghai time.

In the base metals, aluminium was the best performer of its complex though gains remain limited.

The most-traded August aluminium contract rose to 13,810 yuan ($2,008) per tonne at 10.15am Shanghai time, up by 35 yuan per tonne, or 0.3%, from Thursday’s close of 13,775 yuan per tonne.

The light metal’s fundamental backdrop has improved in recent months following a steady drawdown in SHFE stocks.

Deliverable aluminium stocks at SHFE warehouses totaled 423,068 tonnes on June 28, down from this year’s high of 741,757 tonnes on March 22.

“The aluminium prices have got technical support, while the bearish sentiment as a result of falling alumina prices has largely been digested,” an analyst from Guotai Junan Futures said. “In the short term, there appear to be no negative drivers behind the supply/demand fundamentals, instead, the demand might pick up.”

Other highlights

  • Zinc continued its recent downswing this morning amid seasonally soft demand for the metal. The most-traded August zinc contract price dropped to 19,380 yuan per tonne as at 10.15am Shanghai time, down by 285 yuan per tonne from Thursday’s close.
  • In data on Friday, focus will be on the US’ June jobs report.
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