Most base metals rise on supply jitters, hopes of fewer Fed rate hikes

Most base metal prices ticked up, supported by energy-related supply concerns, with sentiment also buoyed by mixed U.S. jobs data raising some hopes of a slower pace of interest rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The most-traded October aluminium contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 2.1% to close at 18,355 yuan ($2,646.64) a tonne, while three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange gained 0.5% to $2,307.50 a tonne.

“There’s been speculation with possibly tight supply of hydropower in Yunnan province that could affect aluminium production there,” a Reuters report indicated. The southern Yunan province accounts for around 9% of China’s total electrolytic aluminium capacity.

Outside of China, Dutch aluminium maker Aldel said it is halting more output, joining a growing list of companies that cut or halt European production because of sky-high energy prices.

Sentiment improved as the mixed U.S. jobs data released last Friday could ease pressure on the Fed to deliver a third 75-basis-point interest rate hike this month. U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in August, but wage grew moderately and unemployment rate in the world’s largest economy rose to 3.7% from 3.5% in July.

However, metals demand outlook was clouded by persisting COVID curbs in top metals consumer China. China’s southern tech hub Shenzhen started tiered anti-coronavirus restriction measures after a weekend lockdown, while the metropolis Chengdu extended its COVID-19 lockdown that started last Thursday. LME copper lost 0.1% at $7,627 a tonne, while zinc gained 1.4% to $3,179.50 a tonne, tin increased 1.1% to $21,390 a tonne.

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