MORNING VIEW: Broader markets firmer on Covid-19 vaccine hopes

Base metals prices and equity markets were for the most part firmer on Monday September 14, and the common theme seems to be higher hopes for Covid-19 vaccines.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said it has resumed phase three clinical trials, China stated that it was close to a viable vaccine too and drugmaker Pfizer said a vaccine could be distributed in the United States by the end of the year.

  • Asian-Pacific equities and pre-market major western equity index futures were firmer across the board this morning.

Base metals
Three-month base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were mainly in positive territory this morning, led by a 0.7% rise in nickel to $15,220 per tonne, with aluminium, tin and copper all positive too, while lead was bucking the trend with a 0.2% fall to $1,888 per tonne and zinc was unchanged at $2,472 per tonne. Copper was up by 0.6% at $6,752 per tonne.

The most-traded base metals contracts on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were stronger this morning, with prices up by an average of 1.4%, led by a 2.6% rise in November nickel, while copper was up by 1.3% at 52,270 yuan ($7,651) per tonne – see table below for more details.

Precious metals
The spot gold price was up by 0.31% at $1,946.89 per oz and has remained choppy as we have been expecting. Spot silver was up by 0.3% at $26.81 per oz, platinum was up by 1.4% at $940 per oz, while palladium was down by 0.1% at $2,316 per oz.

Wider markets

The yield on US 10-year treasuries was recently quoted at 0.66%, this after 0.68% at a similar time on Friday. Firmer gold and weaker US treasury yields suggest risk-off, but that seems to be flowing against the tide with other asset classes looking firmer this morning.

Asian-Pacific equities were stronger this morning: the CSI 300 (+0.12%), the Hang Seng (+0.62%), the Nikkei (+0.55%), the Kospi (+1.30%) and the ASX 200 (+0.52%).

The dollar index was consolidating this morning and was recently quoted at 93.19 – the range so far in September being 91.73-93.66.

The other major currencies we follow were consolidating: the euro (1.1852), sterling (1.2822), the yen (106.04) and the Australian dollar (0.7287).

Key data
Data already out on Monday showed Japan’s tertiary industry activity fell by 0.5% month on month in July, this after a 9% gain in June, while the country’s revised industrial production rose by 8.7% in July, compared with an 8% rise in June.

Data out later includes the European Union’s industrial production that is expected to have risen by 4% in July, from a month earlier, after a 9.1% rise in June.

Today’s key themes and views
After a jittery week last week for US tech stocks, the stronger tone this morning in equities may well encourage further buying in the metals. That said, generally the base metals complex has lost upward momentum in recent days and while prices struggle to push higher then that does increase the risk of profit-taking.

Overall, we would not be surprised to see dips extend further across markets, including the base metals, but then given prospects for earlier infrastructure spending announcements to turn into actual orders as time passes, we would expect the upward trends in metals to resume before too long.

Gold prices remain rangebound for now and are undergoing an extended period of consolidation. Expect more choppy trading for now.

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