MORNING VIEW: Base metals and broader markets upbeat again

Base metals prices were higher on both the LME and the SHFE this morning, Friday September 10, with the broader markets also up. Additionally, metals that were previously looking vulnerable now look less vulnerable, suggesting traders are still comfortable being exposed to the metals.

  • United States president Joe Biden and China’s leader Xi Jinping are meeting in an effort to improve relations
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) did not rock the boat when it revealed its tapering plans on Thursday

Base metals
Three-month base metals prices on the LME were stronger with gains averaging 1.1% this morning, Friday September 10 – once again led by a 1.9% rise in nickel ($20,560 per tonne) and a 1.6% rise in aluminium ($2,882 per tonne), with both metals setting multi-year highs.

Tin prices were also up strongly, with a 1.3% rise to $33,695 per tonne. Copper was up by 1% at $9,492.50 per tonne, while zinc and lead were up by around 0.3%.

The most-active base metals contracts on the SHFE were up by an average of 2%, led by a 3.4% rise in October nickel and a 3.2% rise in October tin. October aluminium was up by 2.4% and October copper was up by 1.7% at 69,980 yuan ($10,856) per tonne.

Precious metals
Precious metals were up across the board, with spot gold up by 0.4% at $1,801.60 per oz, while the more industrial precious metals were up by an average of 1.1%.

Wider markets
The yield on US 10-year treasuries has slipped and was recently at 1.31%, compared with 1.33% at a similar time on Thursday and 1.37% on Wednesday.

Asia-Pacific equities were stronger this morning: the Nikkei (+1%), the Hang Seng (+1.86%), the CSI 300 (+0.94%), the Kospi +0.34%) and the ASX 200 (+0.5%).

The US Dollar Index rebounded on Tuesday and Wednesday but started to drift on Thursday and is on the back foot this morning, with the index at 92.49, compared with 92.74 at a similar time on Thursday.

As the dollar turned lower, the major currencies rebounded: sterling (1.3842), the euro (1.1830), the Australian dollar (0.7383) and the Japanese yen (109.88).

Key data
Today’s economic agenda is busy, with German final consumer price index (CPI), UK data on construction output, gross domestic product (GDP), goods trade balance, index of services, industrial production and manufacturing production. 

There is also data on French and Italian industrial production with US data on producer prices (PPI) and wholesale inventories. China may also release data on M2 money supply and new loans.

In addition, there is a Eurogroup meetings and European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde is scheduled to speak.

Friday’s key themes and views
Aluminium continues to soar on supply concerns, while nickel prices have rallied to levels not seen since 2014, when prices peaked at $21,625 per tonne. But most of the metals are looking more upbeat, as are broader markets and, combined with a weaker dollar, this means the base metals seem to be ending the week with a tailwind behind them. With some of the metals, including flagship copper, looking weaker earlier in the week but not seeing the follow-through selling, it seems sentiment remains friendly towards the metals overall and that may be tied in to the fact that central banks avoided upsetting the broader markets .

Gold has run into resistance around the $1,834 per oz level, but found support around $1,783 per oz and prices are consolidating this morning. The weaker dollar may be a tailwind, but more risk-on in broader markets may be a headwind.

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