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Daily Base Metals Report

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US stocks rose today, with tech companies paving the way, as investors expect more fiscal support from Biden in the future. In his first day in the office, Biden has already issued a number of executive orders regarding travel, virus testing, and vaccine deployment. US initial jobless claims fell slightly to 900,000 in the week ending January 16th, highlighting weak labour market conditions. The dollar softened into 90.261 and the 10yr US Treasury yield strengthened up to 1.1007%. The euro advanced as the ECB kept the rates unchanged and stated that the size of the pandemic purchase programme will remain at $1.2tr. Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 related deaths worldwide surpassed 2m, as the number of cases continues to spread despite enhanced lockdown restrictions.

Activity on the LME was mixed today with aluminium, tin and nickel closing higher on the day. Tin rallied to the $22,400/t resistance level in the first half of the day; however, failed above that level and closed at $22,001/t. Aluminium was also firmer and managed to close higher above $1,995/t at $1,997.50/t. Nickel prices were marginally stronger, supported above the $18,300/t level and closing at $18,395/t; cash to 3-month spread strengthened into -$45.50/t. Zinc and lead prices were subject to moderate selling pressure, closing on the back foot at $2,709/t and $2,040.50/t respectively. Copper was on the back foot, as investors pondered on Biden’s stimulus plan, closing at $8,021.50/t.

Oil futures slipped today on the back of a gloomy demand outlook, as the number of infections continues to spread worldwide. At the time of writing, WTI and Brent trade at $52.94/bl and $55.86/bl. Precious metals were mixed, with gold and silver marginally lower at $1,863.80/oz and $25.75/oz respectively.

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COVID cases are rising across the globe as the delta variant spreads, this is causing some nervousness in financial markets, especially with the higher inflation rhetoric. Commodity prices have fallen since the Fed changed their tune inflation, the dollar has stabilised which has also been a headwind to prices. The summer months are traditionally quieter for metals demand which could prompt metals to consolidate. If the delta variant continues to spread, we may see higher levels of stimulus for longer. As things stand stimulus levels are set to be tapered and this could be brought forward if inflation remains high. We expect markets to remain volatile but on lower volume through the summer months.