Metal Prices Gain Momentum in February

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Charles/Adobe Stock

On the heels of the doldrums of December, metals prices have made gains through the first two months in 2019.

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February was an especially strong month for a number of metals.

However, markets are especially sensitive to any snippets of news coming out of the ongoing U.S.-China trade talks. President Donald Trump recently delayed the March 1 deadline for a planned tariff rate increase as talks continued.

Whether the two countries reach a meaningful deal anytime soon remains to be seen; as of now, however, metals prices are enjoying a bit of upward momentum.

Copper

Copper on the LME showed strong upward momentum last month.

LME copper prices in February. Source: LME

Starting the month at $6,097 per ton, the metal closed the month up 7.2% at $6,535 per ton.

Meanwhile, SHFE copper also gained steam on the month, rising 4.5% from 47,880 yuan ($7,155) per ton to 50,050 yuan ($7,479), according to MetalMiner IndX data.

Aluminum

LME aluminum’s gains were more modest, starting at $1,871.50 per ton, dipping through the middle of the month and then closing up 1.1% at $1,892.50.

LME nickel prices in February. Source: LME

Meanwhile, Chinese primary cash aluminum rose 2.3% from 13,300 yuan per ton ($1,987) to 13,600 yuan ($2,032), according to MetalMiner IndX data.

Nickel

LME nickel moved similarly to aluminum.

London nickel kicked off the month at $12,455 per ton before dipping for the first two weeks of the month. LME nickel then proceeded to close the month on a run to finish up 4.6% at $13,030 per ton.

LME nickel prices in February. Source: LME

Chinese primary nickel kicked off the month at 98,900 yuan per ton ($14,779) and closed the month up 4.1% at 103,000 yuan per ton ($15,391), according to MetalMiner IndX data.

Zinc

Following the aforementioned trend, LME zinc fell through the first half of the month before closing up 3.9% at $2,839 per ton at the end of the month.

LME zinc prices in February. Source: LME

Meanwhile, Chinese primary zinc opened the month at 22,340 yuan per ton ($3,338) and closed down 2.3% at 21,820 yuan per ton ($3,261).

Tin

Unlike other metals, LME tin was a riser throughout February and did not experience a an early-month dip.

LME tin prices in February. Source: LME

London tin rose 4.4% to close the month at $21,750 per ton.

Chinese primary tin opened at 146,750 yuan per ton ($21,929) and rose 1.7% to 149,250 yuan per ton ($22,302), according to MetalMiner IndX data.

Lead

LME lead rose 3.0% on the month, closing February at $2,153 per ton.

LME lead prices in February. Source: LME

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Chinese primary lead opened at 17,400 yuan per ton ($2,600) and fell 0.6% to 17,300 yuan per ton ($2,585), according to MetalMiner IndX data.

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