Copper prices rose, and other base metals prices were higher at the end of last week, as officials from Washington and Beijing prepared for more talks to resolve their trade issues.
US officials expect China’s top trade negotiator to visit Washington this month, signalling that higher-level discussions are likely to follow this week’s talks with mid-level officials in Beijing.
The tit-for-tat trade dispute has pushed down metals prices on expectations it could hurt demand, especially from top consumer China.
‘We started off the year with a series of weak data that raised concerns about demand, but it’s a better environment for base metals at the moment given the progress in trade talks,’ Danske Bank commodities analyst Jens Pedersen said.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) ended 0.2 per cent higher at $US5,942 per tonne, logging its biggest weekly gain since mid-November.
INTEREST RATES: The US dollar rose against the euro, boosted by technical factors after falling earlier on a message that the US Federal Reserve will be patient on monetary policy.
INDONESIA TIN: Indonesia exported 5,260.55 tonnes of refined tin last month, an increase of nearly 51 per cent from a month earlier, data from the Trade Ministry showed.
CHINA: China plans to set a lower economic growth target of 6-6.5 per cent in 2019 compared with last year’s target of ‘around’ 6.5 per cent, policy sources told Reuters, as Beijing gears up to cope with higher US tariffs and weakening domestic demand.
ZINC: China’s refined zinc production saw its steepest plunge since 2013 last year amid tight raw material supply, longer maintenance periods and the relocation of the country’s top smelter, according to Antaike, the research arm of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association.
ZINC SPREAD: The discount of LME cash zinc to the three-month contract narrowed to $US12 a tonne, the smallest since October 15.
OTHER METALS: Nickel was the biggest gainer in the base metals complex, rising two per cent to $US11,460 per tonne after touching its highest since November 15.
STOCKS: On-warrant stocks of nickel available to the market in LME-approved warehouses were at their lowest since April 2014 at 144,882 tonnes.
Aluminium fell 1.3 per cent to $US1,836 per tonne, zinc gained 1.3 per cent to $US2,492, lead rose 1.3 per cent to $US2,002, and tin added 0.8 per cent to close at $US20,300 after touching a six-month high.