Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were mostly lower during morning trading on Thursday February 21, with positive steps in US-China trade talks doing little to support slumping prices although both copper and nickel futures held ground.

Copper’s three-month price consolidated lower over the morning but remains well supported above $6,300 per tonne by LME inventory which is at a decade-low of just 76,025 tonnes of deliverable material. Total volumes were high so far this morning, with copper leading the complex and trading more than 8,000 lots by 10:00am London time. “Copper made significant further gains yesterday and was trading above the $6,400 per tonne mark again for the first time since July. We believe that a generally benign market environment and technical buying have been boosting the price rise,” Commerzbank Research said in a morning note. Similarly, while nickel’s three-month price dropped 0.7% over the morning, the metal’s price action this week has been largely positive, with low LME stocks and strong demand contributing to renewed buying. Open interest in nickel is also at its highest level since December 2018.