LIVE FUTURES REPORT 27/08: LME base metals prices broadly consolidate; tin bucks trend with 1.5% gain

Three-month base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange largely consolidated during morning trading on Thursday August 27, with thin turnover seeing price action largely unmoved, while continued weakness in the US dollar index failed to spur buying sentiment across metal markets ahead of this afternoon’s Federal Reserve speech.

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell is set to give a talk later on the country’s monetary policy moving forward, and with job security a key issue for the economy on the whole, and the upcoming election battle, this afternoon’s weekly unemployment claims could also shed light on US economic policy.

For now, forecasts see continued declines, with around one million people expected to remain jobless, some 160,000 claims fewer than last week’s figures.

Pushing higher over the morning session, the three-month tin price led on the upside among its peers, climbing by some 1.5% to recently trade at $17,830 per tonne, while turnover was strong at more than 200 lots exchanged as of 10.15am London time.

Steady buying in LME tin comes despite continued tightness in the metal’s forward curve, with the metal’s benchmark cash/three-month spread recently trading at $20 per tonne backwardation, after flipping from an $11-per-tonne contango last week.

Meanwhile, LME nickel’s outright price kept firmly above the $15,000-per-tonne support level over the morning period, recently trading at $15,210 per tonne, while turnover was moderate at just over 2,350 lots exchanged as of 10.20am London time.

Similarly, a 0.4% uptick in LME zinc futures saw the metal recently trade at $2,482 per tonne, with buying momentum supported by the metal’s cash/three-month spread recently trading in a $25.25-per-tonne contango.

“The activity in this morning’s Asian session shows that the Chinese in particular have no intention of chasing these higher prices at the moment, hence the minuscule volumes traded so far, but as Europe wakes up let’s see if the buyers return as industrial companies get back to work,” Kingdom Futures director and chief executive Malcolm Freeman said in a morning note.

“China however has posted the third month in a row of increasing industrial company profits and they are growing at the fastest rate since mid-2018, so the Chinese industrial machine is back going at full speed which can only mean increasing metals demand,” he added.

Elsewhere in the complex, the three-month copper price was subdued over the morning, softening by 0.3% to recently trade at $6,580 per tonne, and continuing to test resistance at the $6,600-per-tonne level.

Turnover for the red metal was thin over the morning, at just over 3,600 lots exchanged as of 10.30am London time, while forward buying was hindered by the metal’s tight forward curve.

LME copper’s cash/three-month spread was recently trading in a $19.50-per-tonne backwardation.

Other highlights

  • In other commodities, Brent crude oil futures were down by 0.40%, recently trading at $46.12 per barrel.
  • The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was recently at $43.25 per barrel, a decline of 0.40%.
  • Meanwhile, the US dollar index remained in negative territory, recently trading at 92.91.
  • In data due from the United States later this afternoon, preliminary gross domestic product (GDP) on a quarter on quarter basis will be on offer, along with pending homes sales.
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