LME base metals three-month prices were seemingly torn between closing up on US-China trade talk optimism now a phase one deal has been agreed between the world’s two largest economies, or down, capped by a stronger US dollar index, which was trading up 0.24% at 97.44 during the afternoon.
In line with recent sessions, nickel was the biggest downward mover of the day, shedding 0.6% from the December 17 afternoon kerb to close at $13,865 per tonne this afternoon.
Upside price action was capped by a 3,558-tonne inflow into the LME warehouse network this morning – global nickel stocks are now at 133,710 tonnes.
And LME nearby nickel spread contangos continue to widen in line with sustained inflows, with the benchmark cash/three-month spread trading in a $68 per tonne contango this afternoon from $61 per tonne earlier today.
Conversely, the LME three-month copper price, which has trended to the upside in recent sessions, closed below $6,200 per tonne once more, shedding a lesser 0.4% from yesterday’s close to end the day at $6,172 per tonne today.
A 5,125-tonne outflow this morning failed to offer any price support, being tempered by a 3,725-tonne inflow into LME approved sheds at the same time, leaving LME global copper inventory at 160,925 per tonne.
Bucking this trend, the LME three-month aluminium price gained marginal ground despite another huge 43,725-tonne inflow today, closing up 0.7% on yesterday’s kerb close at $1,776.50 per tonne today.
LME nearby aluminium spreads have also eased, with the cash-to-January spread backwardation tipping back into a marginal contango of $3.50 per tonne this afternoon following sustained deliveries of aluminium back onto the LME.
- The LME three-month lead and zinc prices both closed up at today’s kerb – lead gained 1.7% on the previous day’s kerb to close at $1,926 per tonne while zinc rose a lesser 0.4% to close at $2,301 per tonne today. They were the only metals of the complex not subject to inflows of material into LME approved sheds today, perhaps accounting for upward price action.