LIVE FUTURES REPORT 09/04: LME base metals prices edge lower, copper retreats from $9,000/t

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange edged lower during morning trading on Friday April 9 in low-volume trading conditions.

The three-month copper price dropped back below $9,000 per tonne this morning, down by $60.50 per tonne to $8,947.50 per tonne.

The red metal hit a two-week high of $9,104 on Monday but there have been steady deliveries of copper into LME warehouses over the past few days. A further 7,000 tonnes was delivered in Rotterdam on Friday, which follows 7,875 tonnes on Thursday across Rotterdam and Trieste.

Total stock levels are now at 163,100 tonnes – the highest since early November 2020.

“This morning there has been a change with selling coming in on the Asian session as the speculative buyers were not so evident as usual and the trade side of the market still showing no interest,” Malcolm Freeman, Director at Kingdom Futures, said.

“There seems to be a sense of nervousness entering the markets generally, US employment numbers showing a slowdown and President Biden now talking about higher corporation tax and targeting US companies overseas income,” he added.

Volume was thin this morning though, with just 2,884 lots of copper traded by 9.20am London time. Similarly, just over 2,000 lots of aluminium had been traded.

Aluminium prices also slipped this morning; the three-month price was down from a two-week high of $2,282.50 per tonne at $2,271 per tonne this morning.

“Optimism about an accommodative monetary policy in the US was offset by rising concerns about inflation in China,” Anna Stablum, LME Desk analyst at Marex Spectron, said in a morning note.

“Producer prices rose by the most since July 2018 last month, fueled higher by commodity prices, which have come under scrutiny from the authorities… Chinese stock markets were also under pressure after the strong inflation data,” she added.

The rest of the complex followed suit and traded slightly lower this morning but in tight ranges and with very small volumes.

The three-month nickel price was last trading at $16,595 per tonne, down from $16,828 per tonne at Thursday’s close. But just 1,790 lots had traded by 9.20am London time.

“Nickel prices remain in a positive tone overall and, based on current LME investors positioning, have room to rally. But we require nickel to fill the outstanding chart gap between $16,250-16,330 per tonne, while we note broader momentum indicators risk rolling lower,” Fastmarkets analyst James Moore said.

Other highlights

  • The three-month zinc price is trading lower for the first time this week, it was down by $29 per tonne to $2,825.50 per tonne this morning.
  • The US dollar index recovered slightly this morning, up by 0.20% to 92.29.
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