LIVE FUTURES REPORT 06/04: Base metals slow amid US tariff announcements; nickel down 2.3%

Base metal prices were lower across the board on the London Metal Exchange during morning trading on Friday April 6, due to the US announcing further impositions on Chinese products.

US President Donald Trump announced further tariff considerations against Chinese products, proposing a further $100 billion in trade sanctions. 

“The market is still overreacting to Trump’s trade rants. Trade tariffs are long overdue however, and should not be a surprise. What Trump says he doesn’t always do, but the sanctions were a major policy statement in his hearing,” John Meyer, analyst at SP Angel told Metal Bulletin.

“As for metals, a possible reduction in global trade may reduce some demand. But the reality is that some consumers will need to hold greater stocks,” he added.

Nickel has fallen 2.3% this morning, despite being the strongest performer at the close on Thursday. The metal has been unable to stabilize back above $13,500 per tonne due to a lack of sustained positive momentum.

Copper has also experienced a steady decline this morning, dropping nearly $50 per tonne but with volumes remaining low.

Less than 3,000 lots of copper had traded on the LME as of 10:50 am London time, with aluminium slightly higher at 3,661 lots.

“Copper and nickel reacted most sharply to the Trump headlines but yet again the volumes make it hard to read too much into anything just yet,” Matt France, head of institutional sales at Marex Spectron, said.

“Both metals closed well yesterday and it might just be a case of late longs closing out positions as fast as possible until we get more detail or a reaction from China, yet its another case of there being no love for momentum traders right now,” he added.

The three-month aluminium price followed the trend and dived back below $2,000 per tonne, trading close to August 2017 lows.

Lead, zinc and tin also dipped lower while the dollar index remains steady above 90.00.

Base metals complex takes dip

  • Copper’s three-month price was down $48.50 at $6,767.50 per tonne. Inventories were down 2,100 tonnes at 370,750 tonnes.
  • The three-month aluminium price was down $15 at $1,994 per tonne. Stocks were down 4,450 tonnes at 1,260,900 tonnes. 
  • Nickel’s three-month price fell $245 to $13,080 per tonne. Inventories dipped 1,104 tonnes to 317,328 tonnes.
  • The three-month zinc price was down $16 at $3,221 per tonne. Stocks fell 1,975 tonnes to 205,350 tonnes. 
  • Lead’s three-month price was down $24.50 to $2,356.50 per tonne. Inventories were up 75 tonnes to 129,225 tonnes. 
  • The three-month tin price was down $60 at $20,990 per tonne. Stocks were down 50 tonnes to 2,000 tonnes. 

Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index was up 0.01% at 90.41.
  • In other commodities, Brent crude oil was down 0.62% at $68.05 per barrel. 
  • In equities, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.99% or 240.92 points higher at 24,505.22 on Thursday.
  • In US data released on Thursday, weekly unemployment claims were at 242,000, above expectations of 225,000, while the February trade balance was -$57.6 billion, close to the forecast of -$56.9 billion.