London 25/07/2013 - Base metals slipped back during Thursday LME pre-market trading, trending in line with the euro, which was softening as well, although the pace of business was relatively low-key, traders said.
Overall, the complex is looking for fresh drivers in the wake of the previous day's global manufacturing indicators. These PMIs provided contradictory manufacturing evidence from China on the one side and the US and Europe on the other. However, short-term sentiment and momentum remains tilted to the upside.
"It is a slow market and a slow time of the year, moving into the peak summer weeks - mind you, we do see pockets of consumer business and short-covering," a trader said.
The euro, which had been steady above 1.3200 against the dollar earlier, backed away to around 1.3185
In the data on Wednesday, China's HSBC PMI number came in at a below-par 47.7, European PMIs were broadly constructive - the eurozone as a whole was 50.1, while the US PMI rose to 53.2.
In data releases so far this morning, Spanish unemployment fell for the first time in a year. The first quarter unemployment rate dropped to 26.3 percent, from 27.2 percent. This was followed by the July German Ifo Business Climate number at 106.2, up from 105.9
The market's attention now turns back to the US, where the weekly unemployment claims figure has been forecast at 339,000. Any large deviation would again be seen as potentially having repercussions for the longevity of quantitative easing.
COPPER SLIDES UNDER $7,000
Copper was unable to sustain levels above $7,000 per tonne, having backtracked from one-month highs of $7,119 hit in the previous session. Business at $6,977 was down $78 from the previous close.
Warehouse stocks fell for the seventh successive day, with the net 4,275-tonne decline bringing the total down to a five-week low of 622,950 tonnes.
Aluminium broke out of an early sub-$10 intra-day range and eased to $1,835, a $16 decline. Stocks rose by 3,725 tonnes to 5,464,025 tonnes, due to a 9,225-tonne warranting in Vlissingen.
Zinc was $8 lower at $1,877, re-basing after an abortive probe above $1,900 on Wednesday. Stocks fell for sixth day in a row - down 4,350 tonnes at 1,055,300 tonnes. Sister-metal lead was $7 lower at $2,058, while there was a small 275-tonne fall in inventories to 198,500 tonnes.
Nickel business at $14,192 was $168 lower - stocks climbed 162 tonnes to 200.010 tonnes, not far off all-time highs. Tin was $95 lower at $19,410, with inventories rising for the fourth day in a row - up 75 tonnes at a one-week high of 14,390 tonnes.
Steel billet was neglected, but stocks dropped 2,145 tonnes to a fresh six-month low of 60,320 tonnes. Cobalt and molybdenum were both nominal.
(Editing by Eddie van der Walt)