LME MORNING - Base metals recover from earlier multi-week lows but US, China fears remain

By: Eddie van der Walt

London 12/06/2013 - Most base metals recovered somewhat from recent lows in Wednesday's premarket after coming under pressure during Asian hours.

Nickel earlier fell to its lowest since June 2009 low while copper, aluminium and zinc dropped to their lowest since at least May. Since then, however, most have moved into positive territory.

Worries over the possible removal or reduction of quantitative easing measures in the US and slowing growth in China were the dominant drivers over the last couple of days, traders said.

There are also doubts that the Chinese government will take action to boost growth amid sluggish economic conditions for the world's top metals consumer.

"There is some nervousness about Chinese policy as they face contradicting goals to keep the economy growing at a reasonable rate while deflating property prices at the same time," broker Triland Metals said. "Copper prices drifted lower against this background."

"In our opinion, however, the negative news - such as weak economic data from China - should largely be priced in by now, so we do not anticipate any further significant price falls," Commerzbank said.

The dollar reversed some of the previous session's losses against the euro - it was last little changed at 1.329 but earlier the single currency hit its strongest since the end of February around 1.33.

In wider markets, the FTSE slipped slightly lower, while the Hang Seng is down 1.2 percent.

In data so far, the German final CPI number for May came in broadly at expectations, reading 0.4 percent, while the comparative French number read 0.1 percent, below the forecast of 0.3 percent.

The April EU production number at 0.4 was above the forecast decline of 0.2 percent, although the previous figure of 1.0 percent was revised down to 0.9 percent.


Copper fell to its lowest in more than a month at $7,020 in light trading - China is absent until Thursday for the Dragon Boat Festival - and was last at $7,135 per tonne, up $90 on Tuesday's close.

Stocks rose increased for the second day, up a net 300 tonnes at 609,550 tonnes, while cancelled warrants fell 825 tonnes to 223,100 tonnes.

In supply-side news, an internal inspection by Freeport Indonesia following the fatal tunnel collapse at its Grasberg mine in May has revealed that its major underground mines are generally safe for use but that some facilities will have to be closed for further inspection and repair, it said.

Aluminium climbed $5 to $1,892. Vlissingen aluminium stocks soared for the second day, jumping 20,550 tonnes to 1,912,925 tonnes there and lifting the overall total to 5,214,150 tonnes. Cancelled warrants fell 7,625 tonnes to 2,073,175 tonnes.

Nickel drifted as low as $14,335, its cheapest since June 2009, and was last at $14,365, down $170. Inventories set a fresh all-time high at 183,720 tonnes after a 906-tonne rise - Johor stocks jumped 1,050 tonnes. Cancelled warrants climbed 984 tonnes to 24,384 tonnes.

Zinc gained $13.50 to $1,866.50 after inventories fell 4,200 tonnes to 1,096,250 tonnes although cancelled warrants dropped 5,750 tonnes to 703,225 tonnes.

Lead was last at $2,140, up $23 on the close and stocks fell by 2,225 tonnes to 200,325 tonnes, while cancelled warrants fell 1,950 tonnes to 144,325 tonnes. Tin at $20,303 was down $222.

In the minor metals, cobalt was indicated at $29,500/30,250 but molybdenum was neglected, as was steel billet.

(Editing by Mark Shaw)