LIVE FUTURES REPORT 15/01: Zinc, nickel down by 1.4%; Cu below $8,000/t again

The London Metal Exchange base metals failed to hold on to the excitement from US President-elect Joe Biden’s speech overnight, with zinc and nickel the hardest hit and copper once again falling below $8,000 per tonne on Friday January 15 and most of complex trading in negative territory.

Zinc’s three-month price was at $2,718 per tonne as at 9am London time, down by 1.4% from $2,757 per tonne at Thursday’s 5pm close.

The galvanizing metal has been struggling for most of the week, trading around $2,700 per tonne in a decrease from last Friday’s 5pm closing price of $2,813 per tonne.

Copper’s three-month price was also down this morning, at $7,980.50 per tonne as at 9am, a 0.8% drop from Thursday’s close, when the metal had managed to close above the $8,000-per-tonne psychological mark for a second day in a row.

After its 3.4% rally on Thursday, nickel was down by 1.4% to $18,030 per tonne as at 9am, although it still held above the $18,000-per-tonne level it reached the previous day.

“With buy-the-news now out of the way, it appears that the sell-the-fact momentum has emerged,” Fastmarkets analyst Andy Farida said.

“While it remains far too early to speculate about the possibility of further selling pressure, the base metals complex has returned to consolidation mode and perhaps will use this time to digest which directional bias it will go in the coming weeks,” he added.

On Thursday, metals “were woken from their slumbers with what was quickly termed as the ‘Biden Bounce’”, Kingdom Futures director Malcolm Freeman said, prior to incoming President Biden announcing a $1.19 trillion aid package to reboot the economy

Copper rose to $8,048.50 per tonne on Thursday at 5pm on the bullish momentum ahead of Biden’s speech, while nickel rallied 3.4% to $18,281 per tonne, the highest price the metal has achieved at the 5pm close this year so far.

Nickel also touched $18,445 per tonne during early trading, the highest intraday price since September 3 2019, amid the euphoria of a friendlier and environmentally-conscious administration that should continue to support the adoption of greener energy, which consequently boost the outlook on the demand for electric vehicles, Farida added.

Other highlights

  • Aluminium’s three-month price fell below the $2,000-per-tonne mark it had held since the start of the year, coming to rest at $1,998.50 per tonne at around 9.30am on Friday.
  • Tin’s three-month price bucked the downward trend of the LME with a slight 0.2% rise to $21,045 per tonne.
  • There is a wealth of economic data out on Friday including UK gross domestic product and goods trade balance, French consumer prices (CPI) and the EU trade balance.
  • In the United States, the Empire State manufacturing index, industrial production readings and University of Michigan data on inflation expectations and consumer sentiment, among other indicators.
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