SHANGHAI, Jan. 18 (SMM) – LME lead prices moved between USD 2,255-2,272/mt after opening at USD 2,273.5/mt overnight. The US December housing starts increased 12.1% to 954,000, driving the 2012’s average monthly housing starts to 780,000, well above the 608,000 for 2011. The initial jobless claims for last week were reported down 37,000 to 333,000, the lowest level since January 2008. These have strengthened investors’ confidence in the US economic and employment recovery, driving up the US equities. In response, LME lead prices rallied to close at USD 2,285.5/mt Trading volumes for LME lead increased 2,085 lots to 6,204 lots, and positions were down 2,291 lots. LME lead inventories fell to 295,450 mt.
The US dollar index fell to end at 79.69, and COMEX silver for March delivery closed at USD 31.8/oz, up USD 0.258/oz.
On January 18, the most active SHFE lead contract price is expected to move between RMB 15,100-15,250/mt, and spot lead prices in China are expected at RMB 14,600-14,750/mt.