Copper prices settled close to intraday lows in official
trading on the London Metal Exchange on Thursday May 3,
responding to weakness in the euro seen as the EU's economic
woes come back into focus.
Trading volumes remained thin on Thursday as the market awaits
key US employment data due out on Friday and French and Greek
elections at the weekend, an analyst said in a note.
"Against that potentially rather volatile backdrop, in addition
to the forthcoming long bank-holiday weekend in London, the
base metals markets are understandably rather quiet with thin
volumes again a feature of the market," the analyst said.
Three-month copper prices settled at $8,255.50/56 per tonne,
down from $8,328/29 per tonne a day earlier, as the euro lost
further ground against the dollar and moved closer to $1.310,
compared with a high of $1.327 earlier in the week.
The eurozone has come back into focus after disappointing
purchasing managers' index data from Markit, as well as
unemployment figures from Spain showing that nearly one in four
people there are out of work.
Despite renewed concerns about growth in the stability in the
eurozone, the European Central Bank (ECB) voted to keep
interest rates on hold at 1% at a meeting in Barcelona on
Copper prices did recover partially following the official
session as US unemployment claims offered signs that the jobs
market there remains healthy.
US Dept of Labor figures showed 365,000 new unemployment claims
were made last week, down from 392,000 the previous week.
Copper stocks in LME-listed locations stood at 235,200 tonnes,
down 3,750 tonnes after deliveries out of ports in Korea, the
USA and Belgium.
Three-month lead prices settled at $2,108/110 per tonne, down
from $1,249/250 per tonne on Wednesday, while
cash-to-three-month spreads were trimmed to a $4 contango, from
$6 in the previous official session.
There has been speculation that the cancellation of more than
60,000 tonnes of lead in LME warehouses in Europe could cause
small backwardations in the nearby curve to flare out, though
the impact so far has been muted.
Unlike the copper market, the physical lead market has been
well supplied so far this year while demand was soft during the
winter, a peak period for the consumption for the battery
market, an analyst said.
"If there are more cancellations, maybe we'll see some impact
on the backwardation or premiums, but for the moment I'm not
sure it will be enough to disrupt things too much," the analyst
told Metal Bulletin.
Lead stocks in LME warehouses stood at 360,325 tonnes, down 675
tonnes after a withdrawal from Port Klang, while cancelled
warrants totalled 86,375 tonnes.
Three-month aluminium settled at $2,088/88.50 per tonne, down
from $2,107.50/08 per tonne a day earlier.
Aluminium stocks totalled 5,004,200 tonnes, down 11,300 tonnes
after deliveries out across stores across Asia, Europe and the