MORNING VIEW: Base, precious metals looking stronger again as dollar weakens

Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, apart from those for lead, were up during morning trading on Tuesday July 6. Those on the London Metal Exchange were mixed, but that was after a generally positive day on Monday.

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Base metals
LME three-month base metals prices were mixed this morning with aluminium down by 0.4% at $2,548 per tonne, zinc ($2,953.50 per tonne) and lead ($2,284 per tonne) were little changed, while nickel ($18,550 per tonne), tin ($31,880 per tonne) and copper ($9,560 per tonne) were up either side of 0.6%. Copper, having been one of the main laggards in recent months, now seems to be playing catch-up with the other metals that have generally been stronger.

The most-active SHFE base metals, with the exception of August lead that was down by 0.3%, were up by an average of 1.1%, although that was skewed by August tin that was up by 2.3% and by August aluminium that was little changed. August copper was up by 1.1% at 69,610 yuan ($10,767) per tonne.
October rebar was up by 1.8% and the September iron ore price on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was up by 2.4%.

Precious metals

Spot precious metals were also higher across the board with gains averaging 0.7%; spot gold was up by 0.6% at $1,802.50 per oz.

Wider markets
The yield on US 10-year treasuries has stabilized, it was recently at 1.44%, up from 1.42% at a similar time on Monday.

Asia-Pacific equities were mixed on Tuesday: the Nikkei (+0.27%), the Kospi (+0.28%), the ASX 200 (-0.68%), the Hang Seng (-0.62%) and the CSI 300 (-0.82%).

The US Dollar Index has turned lower after its late-May to early-July rally that took it to a high of 92.76, from 89.53. It was recently at 92.09, compared with 92.34 at a similar time on Monday. With the US Federal Reserve looking less likely to bring forward any monetary tightening the dollar has lost some support.

Major currencies were getting some lift this morning in the face of the weaker dollar: the Australian dollar (0.7582), the euro (1.1884), sterling (1.3889) and the Japanese yen (110.79).

Key data
Economic data already out showed Japan’s average cash earnings grew by 1.9% year on year in May, compared with 1.4% in April, and household spending grew by 11.6% year on year in May, after a 13% rise in April.

Later there is data on Germany’s factory orders, the United Kingdom’s construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) and housing equity withdrawal, European Union and German economic sentiment from the Zentrum fur Europaische Wirtschaftsforschung, EU retail sales and two sets of US services PMI.

Monday’s key themes and views
The move back in copper prices above $9,520 per tonne suggests the metal has put in a base on the charts and that might now encourage a move to challenge the highs that lie over $1,000 per tonne above. The rest of the metals are looking more upbeat and if benchmark copper prices are now aligned, it may lead to a concerted move higher. Given this is the summer slowdown in the northern hemisphere any such move is likely to be investor led, unless the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 increases the threat to either mine supply or logistics, which prompt restocking.

Gold prices have broken out of their consolidation pattern and also seem to have a tailwind, no doubt helped by the turn down in the dollar and the recent pullback in treasury yields.

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