LIVE FUTURES REPORT 19/04: LME Ali volume hits record-high; nickel, Ali price surge slows

Base metal prices were lower on the London Metal Exchange at the close of trading on Thursday April 19, despite aluminium volumes reaching a record-high 41,000 lots.

Both nickel and aluminium’s three-month prices soared to multi-year highs during the day, but closed on a downward move. 

Nickel’s intraday price difference surpassed Wednesday’s record of $1,670 per tonne, reaching $1,810 per tonne, the highest recorded difference since 2009.

Speculation over further US sanctions against Russian nickel producer Nornickel remained a dominant aspect of price uncertainty.  

“Nickel is consolidating after it surged to a three-year high amid supply-side concerns. Prices are possibly overbought in the short term, but in view of the underlying fundamentals we believe price sentiment is likely to remain supported,” James Moore, analyst at Metal Bulletin said. 

The metal’s afternoon drop goes against the grain of certain market sentiments, with INTL FCStone’s Ed Meir suggesting that nickel’s price could rally over $17,000 per tonne. 

Aluminium’s three-month price dropped 2% to $2,485 per tonne despite reaching a high of $2,718 per tonne. 

The light metal’s three-month price remains volatile after US sanctions against Rusal continue to impact the base metals complex, typified in last week’s deliveries of more than 100,000 tonnes. 

There were 36,150 tonnes of fresh cancelations across Europe and Asia this morning.

Elsewhere in the complex, copper’s three-month price fell below $7,000 per tonne after finding support at Wednesday’s close. 

Zinc and lead’s three-month prices dipped lower despite strong fundamental backdrops in both metals supporting potential price rises. 

Tin’s three-month price is largely consolidating in positive territory above $21,000 per tonne despite supply tightness in Indonesia continuing to contribute to mixed sentiment for the metal.  

Nickel, aluminium prices slump 

  • The three-month copper price fell $38 to $6,984 per tonne. Stocks increased a net 4,125 tonnes to 355,150 tonnes. 
  • Aluminium’s three-month price dropped $52 to $2,485 per tonne. Inventories fell 8,150 tonnes to 1,404,350 tonnes. 
  • The three-month nickel price fell $200 to $15,075 per tonne. Stocks were down 1,350 tonnes at 314,328 tonnes. 
  • Zinc’s three-month price dipped $42 to $3,223 per tonne. Inventories fell 2,250 tonnes to 186,825 tonnes. 
  • The three-month lead price was down $40 at $2,337 per tonne. Stocks were down 125 tonnes at 129,500 tonnes. 
  • Tin’s three-month price decreased $25 to $21,450 per tonne. Inventories climbed 85 tonnes to 2,100 tonnes.

Currency moves and data releases 

  • The dollar index was up 0.26% at 89.83.
  • In other commodities, Brent crude oil was up 0.58% at $74.19 per barrel.
  • In US data today, the Philly Fed manufacturing index exceeded expectations at 23.2, while weekly unemployment claims stood at 232,000. 
  • In addition, US Federal Open Market Committee members Lael Brainard, Randal Quarles and Loretta Mester are speaking.
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