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Metal markets quiet after month of volatility


Friday’s LME prices didn’t see any dramatic changes, but July was volatile overall with most metals ending the month higher than at the beginning.

As the markets awaited weekend negotiations over the US debt crisis, there was only small changes in what had been a dramatic month. With a deal between Democrats and Republicans on the horizon, this may wake up the metal markets this week.

However, there is still likely to be a fallout from the crisis, with a potential credit agency downgrade for the US being predicted by many.

One scrap metal trader told scrap-ex news: “There is a lot of nervousness in the scrap market at the moment because of the lack of general economic confidence. After a bad first half, everyone was starting to think we would turn the corner in the second half, but now confidence is weakening.

“The LME continues to be up and down and the US and eurozone crisis isn’t helping sentiment in the scrap metal market.”

Three month copper settled at $9,745 (£5,979) on Friday down from Thursday’s $9,769 (£5,984). However, this is only slightly down on the monthly high seen on 26 July of $9,800. On 1 July, copper was trading at $9,415 and dropped to the monthly low of $9,410, so over the month finished much stronger.

Indeed, Macquarie analyst Jim Lennon said last week that copper could reach $11,000 by the year end. He said this would be because of easing credit conditions for Chinese customers and a pick up in the global economy would bring hedge funds back into the market.

Aluminium closed at $2,608 (£1,600) down from Thursday’s $2,632 (£1,612). This is only slightly down from the month high seen on 27 July of $2,647. Aluminium was at $2,514 on 1 July, dropping as low as $2,474 on 18 July.

Lead finished at $2,630 (£1,614) on Friday down from $2,694 (£1,650) the day before. It was also the lowest price seen for lead in July. The metal started the month at $2,655 and reached a high on 19 July of $2,762.

Nickel ended the month on $24,520 (£15,044) up from the £24,400 (£14,946) seen a day earlier. This was the highest price seen in July and compares to the $23,100 seen on 1 July.

Tin was at $28,000 (£17,179) on Friday down from the month high seen on Thursday of £28,900 (£17,703). Over the month, tin was up dramatically from the $25,975 of 1 July and the low of $25,605 on 3 July.

Zinc on Friday ended at $2,489 (£1,527) down slightly from Thursday’s $2,505 (£1,534). This was down from 26 July’s monthly high point of $2,520, but up from the monthly low on 12 July of $2,320. It began the month at $2,362.

Steel ended July at £592 (£363) up a touch from Thursday’s $590 (£361). Steel’s hit $600 on 26 July up from the 1 July monthly low of $565.