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Posted on : Sep 05, 2014

LME lead started overnight at USD 2,213/mt in Asian trading hours, and then advanced to an intraday high of USD 2,239/mt after the European Central Bank announced measures to support the eurozone economy. The price of the soft metal later pulled back to finish up USD 19/mt at USD 2,228/mt, pressured by the US dollar index surging close to 84. Trading volumes shed 33 lots to 3,743 lots, and positions gained 1,178 lots to 130,886 lots. LME lead inventories remained unchanged.

Lead for October delivery, the most active contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, soared to RMB 14,510/mt after opening Thursday’s night session at RMB 14,460/mt, and then retreated to finish up RMB 50/mt at RMB 14,425/mt. Trading volumes totaled 2,296 lots, and positions decreased 310 lots to 19,556 lots.

The European Central Bank unexpectedly lowered its interest rates on Thursday to record lows to bolster inflation and simulate economic growth in the euro zone. The benchmark rate was cut to from 0.15% to 0.05%, while the deposit rate was lowered from minus 0.1% to minus 0.2%. The ECB trimmed its marginal lending rate to 0.30% from 0.40% as well. ECB President Mario Draghi announced at the press conference a purchase program for asset-backed securities and covered bonds to loosen credit conditions in the single currency area. In response, the euro closed down 1.57% to levels below USD 1.3, while the US dollar index rose close to 84.

The Bank of England maintained its benchmark interest rates unchanged at 0.5% and continued the current quantitative easing worth GBP 375 billion, which was in line with forecasts. However, expectations for the BOE to raise interest rates are growing in the light of continued geopolitical tensions in Ukraine, interest rate cuts by the ECB, as well as uncertain situation in the UK.

A series of US economic reports, released on Thursday, were mixed. The ADP jobs report showed that the number of new jobs added in the US economy dropped to a 5-month low in August. US initial jobless claims for the week ending August 29 were reported at 302,000, slightly higher than estimates. The continuing jobless claims, however, fell to a new 7-year low in a sign of a sustained recovery in the labor market. US ISM non-manfuacturing PMI hit a refreshed 9-year high in August. Meanwhile, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester indicated that she endorses the reformulation of the US Fed’s forward guidance.

Ukraine’s military spokesman claimed on Thursday that Ukraine was confronting increasing shelling from Russia. The White House stated that Western leaders agreed unanimously to place more sanctions against Russia to punish its action in Ukraine.

Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed, while major European stocks closed higher. US stocks fell across the board. LME base metals all rose on Thursday.

The ECB’s interest rate cuts should bode well for base metals markets on Friday, but the surging US dollar index is expected to weigh down prices. LME lead is set to hover between USD 2,220-2,240/mt, and the most active SHFE 1410 lead contract is projected to fluctuate at RMB 14,370-14,420/mt. In China’s physical lead markets, traded prices should be in a RMB 14,150-14,300/mt band on Friday.

Source: SMM

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