LIVE FUTURES REPORT 06/04: LME base metals prices broadly lower after Trump proposes additional tariffs on Chinese products

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were mostly lower during Asian morning trading on Friday April 6 after United States President Donald Trump said he has instructed his administration to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs against China.

The LME three-month copper price was at $6,754 per tonne as of 03.18am London time, down by $62 per tonne from Thursday’s closing price. A total of 446 lots of the contract have traded so far.

The Shanghai Futures Exchange is closed on Friday to mark the Qing Ming Festival, or tomb-sweeping day.

“In light of China’s unfair retaliation, I have instructed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate under section 301 and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs,” Trump said in a statement.

China had said on Wednesday that it will impose a 25% import tax on $50 billion worth of US-origin products including soy beans, automotives, chemicals and airplanes, though it did not say when the proposed tax will be implemented.

China’s move was in response to the US proposing a 25% import tax on 1,300 Chinese products, which included unwrought aluminium and aluminium products, after its Section 301 investigations. A consultation process and public hearing are still required prior to implementation of the tariffs.

But Trump also added in his statement that the US is still open to negotiations with China.

“The United States is still prepared to have discussions in further support of our commitment to achieving free, fair, and reciprocal trade and to protect the technology and intellectual property of American companies and American people,” he said.

Fears of a global trade war had initially eased on Thursday after Trump’s economic trade advisors, including Larry Kudlow and Pete Navarro, suggested that there would be talks between the two countries before any new tariffs were imposed.

Optimism in the perceived easing of trade tensions were reversed after Trump ordered the USTR to explore further tariffs on China, Singapore’s OCBC Bank said in a report on Friday.

“The ratcheting up in trade rhetoric does not bode well for global risk appetite,” it added.

Other LME base metals prices lower, except tin

  • The three-month aluminium contract fell $5 to $2,004 per tonne.
  • The three-month lead contract decreased $5 to $2,376 per tonne.
  • The three-month zinc contract eased $9 to $3,228 per tonne.
  • The three-month tin contract was unchanged at $21,050 per tonne.
  • The three-month nickel contract edged lower by $140 to $13,185 per tonne.

Currency moves and data releases

  • The dollar index was decreased by 0.09% to 90.32 as of 03.17am London time.
  • The Brent crude oil spot price fell by 0.57% to 68.12 as of 03.17am London time.
  • 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 at 225,000, while the February trade balance was at -$57.6 billion, close to the forecast print of -$56.9 billion.
  • The US will announce its non-farm employment report for March later today – around 188,000 jobs are expected to have been added into the US economy during the month.
  • In addition, US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell is speaking.

LME snapshot at 03.18am London time
Latest three-month LME Prices
  Price ($ per tonne) Change since previous session’s close ($)
Copper 6,754 -62
Aluminium 2,004 -5
Lead 2,376 -5
Zinc 3,228 -9
Tin 21,050 0
Nickel 13,185 -140
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