METALS MORNING VIEW 22/01: Metals start the week on a strong footing

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange are for the most part stronger this morning, Monday January 22, with the complex up by an average of 0.2%.

Three-month copper prices ($7,096 per tonne) are up the most with a 0.7% gain, while nickel, zinc and lead prices are up by around 0.3% and aluminium and tin prices are little changed.

Volume has been average with 6,376 lots traded as of 6.59am London time.

The precious metals complex is mixed this morning with bullion prices down either side of 0.3% with gold prices at $1,330 per oz and silver prices at $17 per oz, while the platinum group metals are up either side of 0.6% with platinum prices up by 0.7% ($1,017 per oz) and palladium prices up by 0.5% ($1,113 per oz).

On the Shanghai Futures Exchange today, base metals prices are for the most part stronger with nickel prices leading the way with a gain of 1.8%, followed by tin prices that are up by 1.5%, zinc prices that are up by 0.7% and copper prices that are up by 0.2% at 53,840 yuan ($8,410) per tonne. Aluminium and lead prices are down by 0.4% and 0.2% respectively. Spot copper prices in Changjiang are up by 0.7% at 53,370-53,470 yuan per tonne and the LME/Shanghai copper arbitrage ratio has firmed to 7.59, up from 7.53 on Friday.

In other metals in China, iron ore prices are up by 0.7% at 540.50 yuan per tonne on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. On the SHFE, steel rebar prices are up by 1.2%, while gold and silver prices are little changed.

Equities in Asia are mainly positive today: CSI 300 (1.19%), Nikkei (0.03%), (0.33%), Hang Seng (0.41%), while the Kospi and the ASX 200 are down by 0.72% and 0.23% respectively. This follows a strong performance in western markets on Friday, where in the United States the Dow Jones closed up by 0.21% at 26,071.72, and in Europe where the Euro Stoxx 50 closed up by 0.78% at 3,649.07.

The dollar index at 90.54 is consolidating in low ground. The low in September was at 91.01 and last Wednesday’s low was at 90.11. So the 2017 downward trend is continuing into 2018. On the back of dollar weakness, the other currencies are strong but consolidating recent gains: euro (1.2236), sterling (1.3893), yen (110.79) and the Australian dollar (0.7995). The yuan has broken through resistance at 6.4345, it has been as high as 6.4149, the strongest it has been since December 2015. Most of the emerging currencies we follow are stronger too, which shows a degree of risk-on and confidence.

The economic agenda is light today - there is a Eurogroup meeting and German Bundesbank monthly report.

The base metals are for the most part looking buoyant, copper prices seem to be the ones struggling the most on the upside, with prices moving sideways either side of $7,100 per tonne, while the rest are working higher. With prices in high ground there is bound to be more selling around, especially when prices break into new high ground, but the fact prices are generally holding up well suggests underlying sentiment remains bullish.

The precious metals prices are generally strong, but the prices are consolidating recent gains. We should get a feel for how strong underlying sentiment is by seeing how far prices slip during this consolidation.

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

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