June 16, 2016 / 9:47 AM / 4 years ago

METALS-Copper slides alongside equities on Brexit uncertainty

* Spanish elections on June 26, after Brexit vote

* Consumers and producers leave the field to funds

* Nickel expected to remain under pressure from stocks (Adds closing prices)

By Pratima Desai

LONDON, June 16 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Thursday alongside oil and equities in volatile trade fuelled by worries about the British referendum on European Union membership, but a weaker dollar helped provide some support.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange ended down 2.1 percent at $4,537 a tonne. The metal used in power and construction rose to $4,690 a tonne on Wednesday, its highest in more than a week.

European equity indices fell to their lowest since late February, while oil fell to its lowest in more than three weeks as markets fretted about the fallout if Britain votes to leave the EU on June 23.

“There’s the Brexit vote next week and Spanish elections (June 26) which people seem to have forgotten about,” said VTB Capital analyst Wiktor Bielski.

“We’re also coming up to the end of the quarter, there are a lot of things going on, the next two weeks are likely to be exceptionally volatile.”

Traders said many producers and consumers were waiting for the Brexit vote, leaving the field open to short-term trading funds.

However, a weaker U.S. currency after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled a more dovish stance is expected to limit losses for industrial metals because it makes dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for non-U.S. firms.

Three-month aluminium was down 1.4 percent at $1,604 a tonne, zinc fell 2.4 percent to $1,989, lead rose 0.4 percent to $1,704 and tin gained 0.2 percent to reach $17,005.

Nickel slid 1.9 percent to $8,870 a tonne. Prices of the stainless steel ingredient hit $9,145 a tonne on Wednesday, matching last week’s high.

Expectations of a nickel market deficit this year are partly behind the more than 7 percent gain since late May, but analysts are not convinced.

“We expect the nickel market to remain under pressure from significant stocks levels over the next two years,” Renaissance Capital said in a note.

Stocks of nickel in LME approved warehouses at 388,620 tonnes are down more than 14 percent since Jan. 18, but they are significant when compared to global demand estimated at about 1.9 million tonnes this year.


Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin (Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Ruth Pitchford and David Clarke)

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