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Base metals prices consolidate in low-volume LME trading; Zinc-lead switch nears $1,000/t

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange consolidated during morning trading on Monday April 15, with prices broadly rangebound amid low volumes while a price difference of nearly $1,000 per tonne continues to separate zinc and lead futures.

Three-month copper continues to trade just below $6,500 per tonne after climbing by just under 2% last week. The red metal’s on-warrant stock levels remain just below 180,000 tonnes, while a contango of $18.50 per tonne in the nearby cash/three-month spread continues to support metal financing.

Meanwhile, a dip in the US dollar index below the psychologically significant level of 97 has prompted marginal buying across the complex, despite broadly thin volumes traded over the morning.

“The point has been made many times that this recent rally in metals prices is not driven by demand and in the case of aluminium for example, we are seeing endless reductions in LME stocks and the price is actually still net falling,” Kingdom Futures director and chief executive Malcolm Freeman said in a morning note.

Copper, nickel and zinc prices seem to be the favourites of the speculative and algorithmic sector which to a greater extent look at technical signals rather than the underlying fundamentals of the market and this is a gap that seems to keep widening,” he added.

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