Most base metals steady in tight trade ahead of US-China trade talks

  • Three-month LME copper were up 0.2% to $6,345.5 a tonne
  • Zinc stocks in LME warehouses fell by another 1,200 tonnes on Wednesday to just 55,225 tonnes, the lowest since 1991

Beijing: Most industrial metals prices held steady on Thursday as investors awaited news from US-China trade talks restarting in Beijing, while supply disruption in copper offset fears of a recession in the United States.

China and the United States have made progress in all areas under discussion in trade talks, with unprecedented movement on the touchy issue of forced technology transfers, but sticking points remain, US officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

"Concerns of weaker economic growth are likely to keep downward pressure on commodities for the time being," ANZ wrote in a note, adding that base metals were nonetheless being supported by supply-side issues and low inventories.

Zinc stocks in London Metal Exchange warehouses fell by another 1,200 tonnes on Wednesday to just 55,225 tonnes, the lowest since 1991, while the "disruption to copper supplies from Las Bambas lingers," ANZ said, referring to the mine in Peru where MMG expects to declare force majeure.

Fundamentals

Copper: Three-month LME copper were up 0.2% to $6,345.5 a tonne as of 0714 GMT, while the most-traded May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was almost unchanged at ¥48,360 ($7,187.66) a tonne.

MMG Las Bambas: Tension extended at Chinese miner MMG Ltd's Las Bambas mine in Peru as indigenous protesters on Wednesday hurled rocks at the helicopter of a government negotiating team who was sent to with finding a peaceful end to a 51-day road blockade that has choked off access to the mine.

Zinc spread: The premium of cash LME zinc over the three-month contract rose to $56 a tonne on Wednesday, the highest since 7 January, as LME zinc stock decline further to 55,225 tonnes the lowest level since 2007, latest data showed.

Prices: Shanghai zinc ended up 1.2% at 22,570 yuan a tonne, while London zinc dipped 0.1%. London nickel, aluminium and tin all fell.

TC/RCs: The 10-member China Smelters Purchase Team (CSPT) is meeting in Shanghai to determine floor treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for copper concentrate in the second quarter.

Copper: CSPT member Jiangxi Copper Co, said on Wednesday 2018 net profit rose 52.4% year on year as a hedging gain boosted its bottom line.

Scrap: China aims to cut solid waste imports to zero by next year as it looks to reduce pollution and encourage recyclers to treat soaring volumes of domestic trash, a senior environment ministry official said.

Nickel: Indonesia's nickel-related industries such as the production of stainless steel and battery materials are set to surpass the value of its second-biggest export earner, palm oil, in the next 10 to 15 years, its investment board chief said on Wednesday.

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