METALS MORNING VIEW 03/04: Metals mainly firmer - bargain hunting for Q2 emerging?

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange are for the most part stronger this morning, Tuesday April 03, with prices up by an average of 0.7%.

Copper, aluminium and nickel lead the advance with gains averaging 1.1% - with copper at $6,811 per tonne, followed by tin and zinc that are up by 0.7% and 0.3% respectively, while lead is bucking the trend with a 0.1% decline.

Volume has been high with 13,443 lots traded as of 07.24am London time.

This morning’s strength builds on the rebounds that started to get underway at the tail-end of last week - the exception being aluminium where prices continued to weaken last week, but has found some strength today.

In precious metals this morning, gold, silver and platinum prices are stronger by 1.1%, 1.4% and 0.6% respectively, while palladium prices are down by 1.7%.

On the Shanghai Futures Exchange this morning, the base metals are showing more divergence. Aluminium prices lead on the upside with a 1.6% gain, followed by copper prices that are up by 0.3% at 50,440 yuan ($8,023) per tonne and tin prices that are up by 0.2%. The others are weaker with lead, zinc and nickel prices off by 1.3%, 0.7% and 0.4% respectively.

Spot copper prices in Changjiang are up by 0.8% at 50,380-50,680 yuan per tonne. The LME/Shanghai copper arbitrage ratio has eased to 7.40, from 7.42 on Thursday.

In other metals in China, iron ore prices are down by 2.1% at 453.50 yuan per tonne on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. On the SHFE, steel rebar prices are down by 1.2%, while gold and silver prices are up by 0.7% and 0.6% respectively.

In wider markets, spot Brent crude oil prices are down by 2.24% at $67.78 per barrel and the yield on US 10-year treasuries is weaker at 2.74%, as is the German 10-year bund yield at 0.49%.

Equity markets in Asia are weaker this morning as they follow the sell-off in US markets on Monday: CSI 300 (-0.86%), Kospi (-0.07%), Hang Seng (-0.19%), Nikkei (-0.45%) and the ASX 200 (-0.13%). This follows a 1.9% sell-off in the Dow Jones that closed at 23,644.19.

The dollar index at 89.94 is meandering sideways below recent resistance that is positioned around 91, but well above recent lows that range between 88.25 and 88.94. The euro (1.2316) is moving sideways, the yen (106.00) is firmer, as are sterling (1.4065) and the Australian dollar (0.7703). The yuan is giving back some of its recent gains, it was recently quoted at 6.2851. Most of the emerging market currencies we follow are split into two groups with the rupiah, rupee and real on a back footing, while the rand, ringgit and peso are showing strength.

The economic calendar is busy today with data out already showing German retail sales dropped by 0.7%. Later we have Spanish unemployment change and manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) out across Europe, with US data including economic optimism and total vehicle sales. In addition, US Federal Open Market Committee member Lael Brainard is speaking.

Most of the base metals prices are rebounding, which is encouraging considering the weakness in equity markets. It also suggests that perhaps the rebounds last week were not just short-covering ahead of the Easter weekend and were the start of bargain hunting ahead of the second quarter. Overall, we remain bullish on the outlook for the global economy so we see the correction as temporary and are on the lookout for buying opportunities - any let-up in trade tensions may well spark another round of buying from consumers and investors alike.

Gold prices are holding up in high ground, prices are volatile in line with gyrations in equities and the rhetoric over trade. Silver is following gold’s lead, while the platinum group metals are still looking weak.

Metal Bulletin publishes live futures reports throughout the day, covering major metals exchanges news and prices.

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