US stocks picked up today despite below-expectation labour performance. US unemployment benefits have unexpectedly increased, and initial jobless claims jumped to 1.1m in the week ending August 15. The Fed Minutes released last night signalled moderate optimism about the growth in the economy in the second half of 2020. The virus continues to spread in Europe, as Germany recorded 1,000 new cases and Spain reported the highest number of infections since April. In the recently-released July Government Council meeting, the ECB expressed uncertainty around the economic outlook and showed reluctance to implement another round of monetary stimulus measures. China expects talks with the US to review the progress on their preliminary trade deal soon.
The sentiment on the LME was weaker today amid growth fears, along with US-China trade talks. Copper prices fell from a two-year high, but remained well supported above $6,580/t and closed at $6,601.50/t. Zinc was particularly weak as protracted selling pressure triggered a close at $2,489/t. Aluminium was well bid in the first half of the day; however, failed above $1,800/t and closed at $1,789.50/t; the cash to 3-month spread widened into -$37.00/t. Nickel was range-bound, testing the resistance level of $14,800/t and closing at $14,647/t. Lead was lower on the day, closing at $1,995/t.
Oil futures continued to fall today on sluggish US labour data, with WTI and Brent down at $42.42/bl and $44.75/bl respectively. Gold and silver prices were marginally higher today, at $1,946.76/oz and $27.16/oz.