Metals News
Macro Roundup (Feb 15)
data analysis
Feb 15,2019

SHANGHAI, Feb 15 (SMM) – This is a roundup of global macroeconomic news last night and what is expected today.

Last night

LME base metals, except for lead, traded lower on Thursday. Nickel tumbled 1.7%, aluminium and zinc dropped 0.8%, tin fell 0.7% and copper dipped 0.1%.

SHFE base metals traded mixed overnight. Nickel slid 1%, zinc lost 0.6% and aluminium sank 0.3% while copper nudged up 0.02% and lead advanced 0.4%. Tin closed flat.

The US dollar index fell on Thursday, weighed by a string of disappointing US data, with retail sales recording their biggest drop in nine years in December and weekly jobless claims registering an increase.

The US Commerce Department said on Thursday that retail sales across the nation tumbled 1.2% in December, the largest decline since September 2009 when the economy was emerging from recession. Data for November was revised slightly down to show retail sales edging up 0.1% instead of gaining 0.2% as previously reported.

Economists had forecast retail sales increasing 0.1% in December. Retail sales in December rose 2.3% from a year ago.

The US Labor Department said on Thursday that initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 239,000 for the week ended February 9. Data for the prior week was revised up to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Economists had forecast claims falling to 225,000 last week.

The four-week average rose 6,750 to 231,750, the highest level since late January 2018.

US producer prices, which tracked changes before they reach consumers, dipped 0.1% in January, missing the expectations of a gain of 0.1%.

Excluding food, energy and trade services, the so-called core PPI rate rose 0.2% last month. The yearly rate of increase in core prices tapered to 2.5% from 2.8%.

China on Thursday reported exports and imports data for January that beat expectations.

Dollar-denominated exports for the month rose 9.1% from a year ago, according to Chinese customs data. China's exports in January were expected to have contracted 3.3% from a year earlier, compared with the previous month's 4.4% decline.

January dollar-denominated imports, meanwhile, fell 1.5% on the year, which was far better than expectations of a 10.2% decline from a year earlier. Imports in December fell 7.6% from a year ago.

China's overall trade surplus was $39.16 billion in January and exceeded the expected $34.3 billion. That stood lower than December's trade surplus of $57.06 billion.

German data on Thursday showed that its economy stalled in the final quarter of 2018 and narrowly avoided a recession. Germany's federal statistics office Destatis said that gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter remained "nearly at the previous quarter's level after adjustment for price, seasonal and calendar variations".

However, Destatis announced an annual increase of 1.4% of the German GDP for 2018. The growth was therefore "slightly" lower than what the statistical office reported in January. Back then, Destatis reported an annual GDP growth of 1.5% for 2018.

Day ahead

Economic data slated for release today include China's consumer and producer prices for January, the eurozone’s trade balance for December, the US’ import prices, industrial output for January, the University of Michigan consumer confidence index for February and weekly oil rig count from Baker Hughes.

US and Chinese negotiators will continue their trade talks in Beijing today. It was reported that US President Donald Trump was mulling an extension of the March 1 deadline, by 60 days. On Wednesday, he had said the talks were "going along very well".

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