LIVE FUTURES REPORT 24/07: Positive eurozone data fails to stem LME base metals correction

Three-month base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange softened during morning trading on Friday July 24, with positive manufacturing data out of Europe and a continued drawdown in LME stocks doing little to stop a complex-wide correction, that saw most metals decline by more than 1%.

Leading on the downside this morning, LME nickel’s outright price was recently at $13,475 per tonne, notching a 1.6% decline after the metal rallied on Thursday to close at its highest level since January at $13,689 per tonne.

This came after electric vehicle (EV) producer Tesla’s chief executive Elon Musk called for a ramp-up of global nickel mining, prompting the metal’s LME three-month price to climb by as much as 4.5% on Thursday afternoon.

LME nickel’s forward curve tightened slightly over the morning, with the metal’s benchmark cash/three-month spread recently at $38.25 per tonne contango, narrowing from $41 per tonne contango on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a slew of positive manufacturing data from the eurozone area saw economic activity return after a sustained period of virus-related lockdown measures that froze supply chains over the April-May period.

Of note, the German flash services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the June-July period spiked to a level of 56.7, improving from 47.3 at the prior reading and beating the expected level of 50.4.

Similarly, the German flash manufacturing PMI over the same period moved into expansionary territory at a level of 50, improving from 45.2 the previous month, while PMI data out of France and the United Kingdom also saw indices move into expansionary territory.

Elsewhere in the complex, three-month copper, zinc and tin prices were similarly subdued over the morning, while turnover was thin across most metals despite LME copper leading the way at just over 9,000 lots exchanged as of 10am London time.

LME copper’s three-month price was recently trading 1.2% lower at $6,426.50 per tonne, slipping below the key $6,500-per-tonne support level on Friday morning, despite a continued drawdown in LME stocks.

Total on-warrant LME copper stocks now stand at just 52,000 tonnes after a fresh cancelation this morning saw some 4,900 tonnes booked out of LME-registered warehouses in Rotterdam.

At the start of July, some 67,225 tonnes were held on-warrant in Rotterdam, while a flurry of removals and fresh cancelations this month has caused deliverable inventory levels in the region fall to just 5,250 tonnes this morning.

Other highlights

  • In other commodities, Brent crude oil futures were up by 0.82%, recently trading at $43.97 per barrel.
  • The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was recently at $41.46 per barrel, an incline of 0.75%.
  • In economic data due later this afternoon, the US will be releasing its flash manufacturing and services PMI levels for the June-July period, with both expected to equally move beyond 50.
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