US stocks retreated on the back of mixed messages of what the future looks like between Russia and Ukraine, with the latter awaiting proof of troop withdrawal from the border. US retail sales rebounded, growing by 3.8% m/m in January, the biggest gain in 10 months, highlighting the persistent appetite for spending despite the spread of omicron through the economy in the first month of the year. Homebuilder sentiment in the US has dropped to a 4-month low in February amid continued pricing pressures, such as labour and supply costs. In the meantime, US factory output rose modestly in January as manufacturers continued to work through the backlog of orders.
Metals were all marginally higher on the day, finding support, partly due to a slower Chinese inflation figure, which should give the central bank more room for further monetary policy easing. Aluminium responded strongly to a possibility of easing tensions from Russia, climbing to test recent highs at $3,260/t; the metal closed at $3,256/t. Aluminium cash to 3-month spread tightened into $40.25/t. Likewise, lead caught a bid today, breaking above $2,330/t to close at 2,338/t. Zinc tested resistance at $3,620/t but struggled above that level and closed lower at $3,584/t. Nickel fluctuated around $23,400/t to close at $23,406/t.
Oil futures recouped yesterday’s losses amid uncertainty on the geopolitical front. WTI and Brent rallied back to $94.80/bl and $95.87/bl. Likewise, precious metals were all moderately higher, with gold and silver at $1,864.96/oz and $23.51/oz, respectively.
For more in-depth analysis of base and precious metals, please see our Quarterly Metals report.
All price data is from 16.02.2022 as of 17:30