World Economy

Metals Shine But Stocks Stuck Near 5-1/2-Week Low

The London Metal ExchangeThe London Metal Exchange

World stocks struggled at a 5-1/2-week low on Monday, though metals dazzled with zinc at its highest in a decade, copper hitting a nearly three-year high and iron ore’s gains in the last two sessions stretching to 5%.

European stocks fell for a third session, though M&A activity helped shipping giant Maersk jump and the rally in metals sent Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Anglo American higher, Reuters reported.

Zinc hit its highest since October 2007 at $3,180.50 a ton, bellwether metal copper rallied to $6,593 a ton, its highest since November 2014, and nickel, used in stainless steel, gained over 2% to a 2017 peak.

It came amid hopes for Chinese infrastructure spending as stocks at Chinese ports fall for a fourth week and a potential boost down the road from electric cars, though some analysts cautioned moves may be speculative too.

“I’m looking at the prospect for the global economy and looking at the price of metals and there seems to be a significant disconnect between the two,” said CMC markets strategist Michael Hewson. “But it’s certainly helping the mining sector, which has been beleaguered for quite some time.”

In the currency market, the dollar remained hampered by Friday’s latest departure from US President Trump’s top team. This time it was chief strategist Steve Bannon, a driving force behind his nationalist and anti-globalization agenda.

The dollar fetched 109.24 yen, not far from Friday’s four-month low of 108.605. The euro was also in the doldrums, stuck at $1.175 as it extended last week’s biggest weekly decline in more than two months.

Investors are looking to European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi’s comments later this week at a meeting of the world’s central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Sources told Reuters last week he would not deliver any fresh policy messages.

Oil markets steadied after big gains on Friday, which were triggered by a drop in crude inventories. US crude futures fetched $48.46 per barrel, down 0.1%, while Brent futures were down 0.2% at $52.63 per barrel.

In fixed income, the 10-year US Treasuries yield stood at 2.185%, having slipped on Friday to 2.162%—its lowest since late June.

German Bunds were steady at 0.4%. Greece’s government bond yields dipped early after Fitch became the second ratings agency to upgrade it to “Single B” status, marking another milestone in the debt-laden state’s slow journey away from default territory.



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