Most LME base metals prices start week higher

London Metal Exchange base metals prices were mostly higher on the morning of Monday March 25, with zinc and copper leading the gains, up by 0.83% and 0.75% respectively, while tin bucked the trend, dipping by 0.01%.

Three-month futures prices at 9:15am on Monday, compared with Friday’s 5pm close:

• Copper: $8,933 per tonne, up by 0.75%
• Aluminium: $2,320 per tonne, up by 0.48%
• Nickel: $17,325 per tonne, up by 0.48%
• Zinc: $2,504.50 per tonne, up by 0.83%
• Lead: $2,051.50 per tonne, up by 0.74%
• Tin: $27,725 per tonne, down by 0.01%

Copper rose by 0.75% in morning trading but remains below its intra-month high of $9,164.50 per tonne set on Monday March 18.

The red metal is being affected by demand struggles and supply issues.

“Copper ended [the week to Friday March 22] lower as optimism over demand in China faded,” ANZ commodity strategist Daniel Hynes said.

“Ongoing supply risks boosted sentiment earlier in the week,” Hynes added.

Copper supply has been hit by multiple challenges facing mine production. Weak copper concentrate production has caused Fastmarkets’ copper concentrates index to collapse in recent months, currently down 93% since November 2023.

Fastmarkets’ weekly copper concentrates TC index, cif Asia Pacific was calculated at $5.90 per tonne on Friday, down by $3.50 per tonne from $9.40 per tonne one week prior, and down from $79.40 at the start of November.

Zinc gained 0.8% on Monday morning, with Fastmarkets analyst James Moore suggesting this could be due to positive seasonality.

“The galvanized steel market is on a seasonal uptick, which should provide a supportive background for zinc prices,” Moore said.

Zinc is also down from recent highs. On March 15, zinc hit an intra-month high of $2,591 per tonne, but prices have since come off amid China’s construction challenges among other factors pressuring the metal.

“Other zinc-related factors, such as headwinds in China’s construction sectors and reports that Glencore is in the process of restarting production at its Nordenham smelter in Germany, are also creating mixed sentiment,” Moore said.

Published by: Albert Mackenzie