US markets were closed today in observance of Martin Luther King Day. Economic data due this week will reveal the state of the US consumer. Retail sales are expected to increase from 0.3% MoM in November to 0.4% MoM in December, which is a small change considering the holiday season. The US dollar edged higher against other currencies and stood at 102.66. Elsewhere, the UK Consumer Price Index (CPI) is due on Wednesday, and it will help the markets shape their expectations regarding possible interest rate cuts from the BoE. Currently, investors are pricing in the first 25bps cut in May.
The appetite across the LME exchange remained lacklustre, as volatility is being sold across the board. Moreover, the PBOC has kept the 1-year interest rate unchanged at 2.5%. Muted economic performance and a potential for another weakness in the yuan are the most likely reasons for the rate pause. Aluminium extended last week’s losses, trading at $2,203.5/t while copper edged slightly higher to $8,358/t. Zinc saw strong upside pressures after Nystar suspended Budel smelting operations in Netherlands owing to mounting energy costs and market conditions and finished at $2,558.5/t. Lead appreciated slightly to $2,108.5/t while tin finished lower at $24,781/t.
Precious metals traded flat today, with both gold and silver mostly unchanged at $2,053.7/oz and $23.2/oz, respectively. Recent attacks on ships en route to the Red Sea by Iran-backed Houthi rebels and subsequent shipping issues led the US and UK to launch a series of airstrikes in the area. While further escalation of the conflict in the Middle East could drive oil prices higher, we haven't seen a pronounced increase in prices so far. WTI and Brent remained mostly unchanged today at $72.25/bl and $77.93/bl, which is below the average recorded in the last 12 months.
All price data is from 15.01.2024 as of 17:30