Base metals traded on the London Metal Exchange were broadly higher during Asian morning trading on Thursday February 15, though trading remained subdued with Chinese participants out for the week-long Lunar New Year break.
Copper and nickel prices led on the upside with aluminium and lead registering slight gains, helped by continued weakness in the dollar, while tin was unchanged and zinc was the only metal to lose ground so far this morning.
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The global zinc market is riding a wave of solid demand and historically low stock levels, leading to a cyclical uptick that will peak at $4,300 per tonne in 2019
, according to Jonathan Leng of Wood Mackenzie.
Trade remedies that may be implemented as a result of the United States’ Section 232 investigation into aluminium imports may utilize a nuanced approach
as part of the government’s effort to curb transshipment and duty evasion concerns.
Some lead scrap prices stepped higher
in the United States due to a combination of firm domestic demand and strong overseas competition, while spent lead-acid battery prices maintained a steady footing.
A rise in Chinese zinc production over the coming years will coincide with either a fall or a moderation
in that country’s demand for the material, according to Claire Hassall, director and zinc market specialist at base metal research firm CHR Metals.
An uptick in Chinese zinc mine production combined with a reduction in demand should push LME prices lower
in the second half of this year, a senior base metals analyst at Macquarie Group said.
Prices for stainless steel in East Asia held steady
with many participants exiting the market for the Lunar New Year holiday.