LIVE FUTURES REPORT 30/07: Thin volume sees downbeat LME complex consolidate lower; copper slides 0.8%

Three-month base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were subdued during morning trading on Thursday July 30, with thin volumes indicating bearish sentiment, while a low dollar and continued outflows did little to stop copper futures from leading on the downside.

Copper’s outright price on the LME was recently trading at $6,419.50 per tonne, sliding by just under 1% from Wednesday’s closing price of $6,474 per tonne, while turnover was low at just over 3,600 lots exchanged as of 9.45am London time.

Deterring prompt business, LME copper’s forward curve continues to trade in a backwardation, with the red metal’s benchmark cash/three-month spread recently trading at $8 per tonne backwardation.

Yet despite this, fresh cancellations and outflows of more than 65,000 tonnes of grade A copper cathode from LME-registered warehouses over the July period, with on-warrant material now at just 45,500 tonnes.

“Today you could be forgiven for thinking you have slipped through some hole in time as copper opened and ran up to $6,505 per tonne, just $0.50 per tonne lower than it did yesterday, and like yesterday has dropped back,” Kingdom Futures director and chief executive Malcolm Freeman said in a morning note.

“The question being will we visit sub-$6,400 per tonne as happened for no obvious reason yesterday?” he added.

Elsewhere in the complex, the three-month zinc price continues to consolidate at elevated levels, recently trading at $2,290.50 per tonne, while turnover was moderate at some 3,600 lots exchanged as of 10.05am London time.

LME zinc’s underlying price continues to trade higher despite inflows of more than 40,000 tonnes over the July period.

This morning saw another 1,300 tonnes enter LME-registered warehouses in Kaohsiung and Singapore, after some 15,050 tonnes was delivered in on Wednesday - albeit with the LME running a two-day delay in its warehouse stock reporting.

Meanwhile, LME zinc’s forward curve continues to tighten despite steady inflows, with the galvanizing metal’s cash/three-month spread recently trading at $5 per tonne contango, narrowing from $6.51 per tonne contango on Wednesday.

Other highlights

  • In other commodities, Brent crude oil futures were down by 0.91%, recently trading at $43.61 per barrel.
  • The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was recently at $40.69 per barrel, a decline of 1.09%.
  • In economic data due from the United States this afternoon, the country’s advanced second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) estimate will be released, with the forecast level currently indicating a quarterly decline of 34.5%.
  • US unemployment claims in the week to July 30 will also be on offer later this afternoon, with current expectations set at 1.44 million claims.
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