LIVE FUTURES REPORT 12/08: Nickel prices down 2% on high morning volume; zinc recovers

Nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange were down over 2% during morning trading on Monday August 12, undoing last week’s gains.

The three-month nickel price was most recently trading at $15,290 per tonne, down $290 per tonne from Friday’s 5pm close. Nickel has had the highest trading volume of the complex so far this morning, above average with over 7,000 lots traded by 9am London time.

Nickel’s three-month price has already traded in a $1,125-per-tonne range after it opened at a short-lived high of $16,145 per tonne.

“The metals have started the week with relatively little movement… That is with the exception of Nickel which is [earlier this morning was] down $610 at $15,050 per tonne which [was] a loss of 4%,” Malcolm Freeman, Kingdom Futures said.

“I am surprised by nickel’s decline as markets that rally on technical events that are in no way supported by the demand within the physical market have a tendency to return fairly close to where they started,” he added.

The metal continues to correct downwards after it rallied earlier last week on fears of a proposed Indonesian ban on the exporting of unprocessed nickel ore in 2022.

Elsewhere in the complex, the majority of base metals were trading higher. Zinc rebounded from the September 2016 low it hit on Friday. The three-month zinc price climbed $41 per tonne to $2,274 per tonne.

Lead followed its sister metal higher, most recently trading close to its $2,100-per-tonne support barrier.

The lead/zinc price differential is now at just $181 per tonne, significantly lower than this time last year when zinc was $364 per tonne higher than lead.

“Zinc prices remain a lot lower than this time last year, and the differential between the sister metals continues to narrow,” a trader said.

“It is interesting because at the moment lead seems like the stronger metal and maybe we could see it serge above at some point soon,” he added.

Other highlights

  • In LME stock movements, aluminium stock declined a further 6,725 tonnes, the eight business day of declines in a row. On-warrant stock now sits at just 706,600 tonnes.
  • The US dollar index was little changed this morning up 0.12% to 97.70.
  • In data on Monday, the economic calendar is a bit light with almost no important data worthy of special attention to be released.
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