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CLOSE TO CLOSE: Copper prices finish higher in LME kerb trading, strong US mood supports

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Copper prices recorded daily gains at the close of trading on Tuesday May 1, rallying in line with US equities after quiet European and Asian sessions.

China and several European markets were closed for public holidays on Tuesday, leading base metals prices to tread water throughout the day.

Intraday trading ranges remained narrow as the close of trading approached, but copper achieved a new high of $8,454 per tonne shortly before the bell, responding to a strong opening in US equities markets driven by positive manufacturing data from the world’s largest economy.

The ISM purchasing managers’ index hit 54.8 in April, up from 53.4 the previous month.

The red metal finished the kerb at $8,440 per tonne, up from $8,400 per tonne a day earlier. The cash-to-three-month spread eased moderately throughout the day and was evaluated in a $97-per-tonne backwardation, compared with $134.5 a day earlier.

The lack of interest in the markets on Tuesday was compounded by the run-up in prices seen last week, which prompted questions about the sustainability of the putative rally, a category II broker said in a note.

“All the metals had traded up to good resistance areas and thus are consolidating as players try to determine if it was short covering in nature or indeed a change in trend,” he said.

All base metals are stuck within congested trading ranges, with copper attempting to break out to the upside, while nickel looks prone to a move lower, a category I broker told Metal Bulletin.

“I’m still bullish long-term on base metals but the short-term outlook is not the best. They’ve all hit trend lines, and nickel in particular is trying to go lower,” he said.

Copper stocks in LME-listed locations stood at 241,550 tonnes on Tuesday, down by 6,800 tonnes after withdrawals from stores across Asia, Europe and the USA.

Nickel prices closed for the day at $17,705 per tonne, down from $17,895 per tonne a day earlier. The alloying metal briefly traded at a high of $18,050 per tonne earlier in the session before sliding to an intraday low of $17,531 per tonne.

Nickel stocks in LME-listed locations stood at 103,902 tonnes on Tuesday, unchanged from a day earlier.

Three-month aluminium closed at $2,123 per tonne, virtually unchanged from the previous close of $2,119 per tonne.

Aluminium stocks dropped by 10,400 tonnes after withdrawals from Vlissingen, Detroit, New Orleans, Johor and other locations, taking total stocks to 5,014,500 tonnes.

Mark Burton
mburton@metalbulletin.com
Twitter: @mburtonmb

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