London 14/08/2013 - Base metals were largely little-changed during Wednesday LME premarket trading, with prices moving into a sideways ranging pattern following the strong rallies of recent sessions, traders said.
Copper was peering above the $7,300 level at times, albeit holding below yesterday's two-month highs, but the rest of the metals were hardly budging from their Tuesday closes.
"After the strong run higher in recent days, it looks like some consolidation has set into the metals, which - considering they were approaching resistance levels - is of little surprise," William Adams of FastMarkets said.
The euro was also being pegged back against the dollar this morning at around 1.3260, having been above 1.33 on Tuesday, which also weighed on the complex.
"Today, we do not expect new impetus and most markets are likely to extend lacklustre trading," broker Credit Suisse said.
Still, wider market and macroeconomic sentiment has improved this month, which has fanned the rallies in industrial commodity markets, with two-month highs in most LME metals this week.
A run of data from China has provided evidence that growth prospects are on steadier ground, while most of the recent US data has also been construed constructively.
By contrast, economic inputs from Europe have been mixed, although data so far today has been upbeat, with French and German second-quarter GDP growth readings of 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. US figures later include producer price data.
In the short term, the markets may look to range while the summer slowdown runs its course before gearing up for the key US FOMC meeting in September and any signs that monetary stimulus policy will be tightened.
"How the markets handle these pullbacks and whether they gather much downward momentum should say a lot about how bullish or bearish underlying sentiment is," Adams said.
COPPER MANOEUVRES ABOVE $7,300, INVENTORIES AT FOUR-MONTH LOWS
Copper, as high as $7,354.75 on Tuesday, its strongest in two months, was steadier and looking to retest those levels. It fluctuated around $7,300, trading recently at $7,308 per tonne, up $33 from the previous close.
Warehouse inventories continued to fall, dropping for the 21st day in a row. The net 1,275-tonne decline took the total to a four-month low of 588,450 tonnes.
Aluminium was pegged back below $1,900 and Monday's two-month peaks of $1,904.75, trading at $1,880, a mere $1 loss. Stocks fell for the sixth successive day - down 6,425 tonnes at 5,452,125 tonnes.
In others, zinc was $4 lower at $1,941 - inventories fell 2,600 tonnes to 1,042,525 tonnes. Lead eased $3 to $2,176, while stocks declined 2,650 tonnes to 195,025 tonnes.
Nickel traded at $14,872, up $132, while stocks fell 78 tonnes from what were all-time highs to 205,812 tonnes. Tin traded at $21,800, a $5 loss - stocks were down 150 tonnes at 14,055 tonnes.
Steel billet was neglected - stocks fell 65 tonnes to 39,000 tonnes, the lowest for 13 months. There was no interest in the minors but cobalt inventories rose 10 tonnes to a record 512 tonnes. The LME stockpile represents 0.7 percent of the global market.
(Editing by Mark Shaw)