LIVE FUTURES REPORT 30/12: LME nickel pushes higher; trading volumes remain thin

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were mostly little changed on Monday December 30, due to continued quiet market conditions.

Copper prices remained above $6,200 per tonne, but only edged up $5 to $6,219 per tonne from Friday’s 5pm close. Meanwhile, aluminium prices dropped $5 to $1,820 per tonne.

“So far today the metals have been extremely dull and on thin volumes and for the greater part have gone back to following the Dow Futures,” Malcolm Freeman, Kingdom Futures said.

“As the US indices go from one high to another, you begin to get the feeling that this might actually be the quiet before the storm as it feels like everyone is buying because everyone else is,” he added.

A significant number of participants are still away from the markets for the holidays and there is a lack of fresh directional news.

Copper and aluminium volumes remained the highest of the complex. By 9:30 London time, 3,325 lots of copper had traded and 2,440 lots of aluminium.

Under 300 lots traded for lead this morning, with the price little changed at $1,931 per tonne.

Nickel was the only base metal to move in double figures this morning – up $55 to $14,265 per tonne. But only 1,830 lots had traded by 9am.

Nickel stocks increased 3,504 tonnes this morning to a total of 146,694 tonnes due deliveries into LME sheds in Johor, Kaohsiung and Singapore.

The benchmark cash/three-month nickel spread remains in a wide contango, most recently at $73.50 per tonne.

Other highlights

  • The dollar index, which gauges the strength of the US dollar against a basket of foreign currencies, was down by 0.21% at 96.8.
  • There are limited data releases scheduled for Monday, with the United States’ goods trade balance results, preliminary wholesale inventories, Chicago purchasing managers’ index and pending home sales due.