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Aluminium: China Springs a Surprise

14th September 2023: LME three-month aluminium prices tumbled in the first half of this year, but the fall was halted in Q3 and we expect prices to rally in the year ahead. One reason for being bullish is that the Chinese market is starting to tighten, despite the backdrop of gloom around the property market. […]

September 22, 2023 - Dan Smith

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LME COTR: Follow the money!

2nd August 2023: Base metal prices have a close relationship with LME net speculative positions. Tracking these speculative flows helps to explain why markets are moving and allows us to differentiate between investment-driven changes in price and fundamental changes and to assess whether there is a gap between the two. There is also a forward-looking […]

August 2, 2023 - Dan Smith

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Base Metals: Diversity And Green Credentials

14th July 2023: LME base metal prices showed mixed trends in H1 2023. While tin prices jumped, the rest of the complex retreated. Headwinds are coming from poor sentiment in China and weakness in global construction and manufacturing markets. However, markets like copper, nickel and tin saw a demand boost from the green energy transition. […]

July 14, 2023 - Dan Smith

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Base Metals: China Flatters to Deceive

Base Metals Copper Nickel Primary Aluminium Tin Zinc

15th May 2023: Base metal prices have diverged so far year, as fundamental drivers have started to reassert themselves. In particular, tin was supported by concerns about supply shortages, due to problems in Myanmar and copper prices have been resilient, helped by the green energy transition. By contrast, significant weakness was seen in aluminium, lead, […]

May 15, 2023 - Dan Smith

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Copper Arbitrage: China Says Go; Investors Say No


Copper prices have fallen in recent weeks, as financial markets have started to worry about the impact of rising US interest rates and the ripples emanating from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Copper arbitrage on COMEX is also trending down in line with lower speculative positions on the LME, confirming a broad retreat. However, […]

March 22, 2023 - Dan Smith

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Base Metals: China Bounce Back to Boost Prices

Base Metals Copper Lead Nickel Primary Aluminium Zinc

31st January 2023: Last year was a weak period for most of the base metals and prices trended lower through the year, although nickel was an exception and followed its own bullish path. By contrast, aluminium, copper, tin and zinc prices have all rallied this year, despite a weak fundamental backdrop. While there is currently […]

January 31, 2023 - Dan Smith

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Tin: A Triumph of Hope over Reality


12th December 2022: Tin prices have rallied in recent weeks, as LME speculators have gone from net short to net long. Like other base metals, tin is being boosted by hopes that the Chinese economy will see a strong bounce back, after severe Covid-related lockdowns in November. However, current fundamentals look weak and exchange stocks […]

December 12, 2022 - Dan Smith

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China: Don’t Believe the Hype

Base Metals China

25th November 2022: Base metal prices have rallied in recent weeks with PMI survey data for November suggesting some improvement in Europe and the USD has fallen back, helping to lift commodity prices. However, high frequency data from China shows a sharp slowdown in activity in recent weeks and a severe lockdown is evident in […]

November 28, 2022 - Dan Smith

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Base metals: Micro Outweighs Macro

Base Metals Copper

Base metal prices have rallied in recent weeks and copper prices have jumped, despite the backdrop of weakness in global manufacturing and continued lockdowns in China. Investor sentiment is still depressed compared to recent history, but is tentatively moving higher on hopes that we may be close to a turning point in the economic cycle. […]

November 11, 2022 - Dan Smith

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