MORNING VIEW: LME base metals prices, broader markets firmer

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were for the most part firmer this morning, Tuesday October 6, as were Asian-Pacific and pre-market major western equity index futures.

  • US President Donald Trump’s return to the White House boosts confidence.
  • Markets have become more risk-on, although gold prices are holding up well too.

Base metals
Three-month base metals prices on the LME were for the most part stronger this morning; the exception was tin that had not traded, while the rest were up by an average of 0.2%, led by a 0.5% rise in nickel to ($14,615 per tonne). Copper was up by 0.1% at $6,533 per tonne.

Volumes traded on the LME were light with 855 lots traded by 5.52am London time, compared with 1,083 lots at a similar time on Monday.

Precious metals
The precious metals were weaker this morning, with spot gold off by $0.80 per oz at $1,911.63 per oz, spot silver ($24.29 per oz) down by 0.2%, spot platinum ($898 per oz) off by 0.1% and spot palladium ($2,360.50 per oz) off by 0.1%.

Wider markets

The yield on US 10-year treasuries has raced higher. It was recently quoted at 0.77%, this compared with 0.7% at a similar time on Monday. After a long period of being stuck in low ground the yield appears to be climbing again, suggesting the market is getting more risk-on.

The Asian-Pacific equities were firmer: the ASX 200 (+0.35%), Nikkei (+0.48%), Hang Seng (+0.74%) and the Kospi ($+0.02%).

The US dollar index was pulling back again in what appears to be the unwinding of risk-off. It was recently quoted at 93.41, after Friday’s blip up to 94.04.

Most of the other major currencies have turned higher while the dollar has fell back: the euro (1.1790), the Australian dollar (0.7169) and sterling (1.2987), but the yen (105.65) was holding in low ground, again suggesting less interest in havens.

Key data
Tuesday’s economic data releases include German factory orders, the United Kingdom’s construction purchasing managers index (PMI), US trade balance and US job openings.

In addition, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Federal Open Market Committee members Patrick Harker and Robert Kaplan are scheduled to speak.

Today’s key themes and views

The base metals on the LME seem to be in two camps with copper, aluminium and tin strongly rebounding off recent lows, suggesting keen dip-buying interest. At the same time, lead, zinc and nickel are trending lower with dip-buying lifting prices off the lows, but not strong enough to push prices back into high ground.

With equities and yields now heading higher and the dollar weakening on Trump’s recovery, the metals look set to work higher.

Gold prices are back above $1,900 per oz, after recent lows of around $1,849 per oz, and so far prices have not pulled back much on signs of risk-on elsewhere. But the dollar is weaker, which will be a tailwind for gold and with the US presidential election less than a month away, interest in gold may well pick up.

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