Base metals slid sharply on Wednesday as data from China stoked fears of a slowdown in the world’s top commodities consumer, with falls in oil and global stocks indicating broad-based risk aversion amongst investors.
World stocks were set for their longest losing streak in more than six months, oil prices slipped for a fourth day in a row and the dollar hit its lowest levels in three weeks versus the euro
Data on Tuesday showed China’s economy cooled further last month, with industrial output, fixed asset investment and retail sales missing expectations as the government extended a crackdown on debt risks and factory pollution.
“There’s definitely a move out of riskier assets which typically has a negative impact on commodities but there’s fundamental reasons why commodities are selling off. China is slowing and yesterday’s data exemplified it,” said Caroline Bain, senior commodities economist at Capital Economics.
* PRICES: London Metal Exchange (LME) copper was flat at $6,758.50 a tonne at 1118 GMT, having earlier hit a more than one-month low at $6,713. Aluminum rose 0.3 percent to $2,088.50, having earlier hit its lowest since late August at $2,068.50.
* NICKEL: Nickel fell 2.3 percent to $11,515 after sliding 5 percent on Tuesday, as the stainless steel ingredient continued to correct from this month’s surge to two-year highs on hopes for a bounce in demand for electric vehicles.
“The timing and power in yesterday’s move lower (is) suggestive of it being macro driven. There is more downside to come over the next session or so. CTA sell programs are already apparent today across some of the metals,” said broker Marex Spectron in a note.
* TC/RC’S: China’s top copper smelters held an unscheduled meeting in Shanghai on Tuesday to reaffirm their position that there will be no shortage of copper concentrate supply in 2018 as the key contract renegotiation season hots up.
* COPPER CUTS: Polish copper producer said this year’s output of electrolytic copper from its concentrates would be 35,000 tonnes rather than the planned 401,000 tonnes due to an accident at its smelter.
* COPPER SPECULATORS: Unidentified traders on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) added $1 billion to positions in copper contracts tied to the second-half of 2018 this week, as investors continue to place big bets on the metal.
* ALUMINA CUTS: Chinalco, China’s biggest state-run aluminum producer, is cutting its alumina capacity by 2 million tonnes this winter to comply with pollution-related restrictions on heavy industry.