(MB) First impressions are that we are off to a bullish start to the week, with the base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange up by an average of 0.6% this morning, Monday February 26.Nickel and lead prices lead the way with gains of 0.9%, followed by zinc and copper prices that are up by 0.6%, with the latter at $7,155 per tonne, while tin and aluminium prices are up 0.4% and 0.3% respectively. Volume has been above average with 9,745 lots traded as of 07.29 am London time. This follows a day of weakness last Friday when prices dropped by an average of 0.6% and failed to build on the rebounds from Thursday. Precious metals prices are stronger this morning, with gold prices up by 0.9% at $1,340.11 per oz, while the rest are up by between 1% and 1.2%. This follows a mixed performance on Friday when palladium prices closed up by 0.7%, while the rest were down either side of 0.3%.

On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the base metals are stronger across the board with copper, aluminium and tin up slightly, with copper prices at 53,600 yuan ($8,459) per tonne, while lead, zinc and nickel are up 0.3%, 0.5% and 0.7% respectively. Spot copper prices in Changjiang are off by 0.1% at 52,880-53,080 yuan per tonne and the LME/Shanghai copper arbitrage ratio stands at 7.49.

In other metals in China, iron ore prices are up by 1.3% at 549 yuan per tonne on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. On the SHFE, steel rebar prices are up by 3.2%, while gold and silver prices are up by 0.5% and 0.8% respectively.

In wider markets, spot Brent crude oil prices are firm at $67.32 per barrel, the yield on US 10-year treasuries has eased to 2.86%, as has the German 10-year bund yield which was recently quoted at 0.65%.

Equity markets in Asia are stronger across the board this morning: Nikkei (+1.19%), Hang Seng (+0.77%), CSI 300 (+1.16%), ASX 200 (+1.18%) and Kospi (+0.25%). This follows gains in western markets on Friday, where in the United States the Dow Jones closed up by 1.39% at 25,309.99, and in Europe where the Euro Stoxx 50 closed up by 0.28% at 3,441.46.

The dollar index’s rebound ran out of steam on Thursday and it has since been consolidating with a slightly weaker bias – this morning it is at around 89.65. This is leading to consolidation/slight strength in the other currency majors: euro (1.2323), sterling (1.4030), yen (106.54) and Australian dollar (0.7882). The yuan is stronger too at 6.3064 and the emerging market currencies we follow are showing some strength after their recent weaker tone.

Economic data out today is light with high street lending from the United Kingdom and US new home sales. In addition, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, UK Monetary Policy Committee member Jon Cunliffe and US Federal Open Market Committee member Randal Quarles are speaking.

Copper, zinc, nickel and tin prices are all poised in high ground and recent price dips have been well supported, but whether buyers are willing to chase prices into fresh high ground remains to be seen. Lead and aluminium price dips have run into support, but the buyers have not yet taken prices back to recent highs. With the Lunar New Year behind us, the markets should be able to focus on the year ahead. Our view remains bullish, given concerted global growth and supply restraints following the past five years of reduced producer capex.

The recent pullback in gold prices has run into support and prices are rebounding – the pullback in the dollar no doubt providing support. We expect general bullishness being seen in metals and oil to carry precious metals higher.