London base metals rose across board on Monday, lifted by the euphoria about the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines and optimism over prospects of an additional U.S. economic stimulus and as the European Union and the UK agreed to extend trade talks.
Markets cheered news about U.S. regulators giving emergency-use authorisation for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, seen as pivotal to ultimately halting a surging pandemic that is claiming more than 2,400 American lives a day.
“More positive news flow is likely on this front with Moderna’s vaccine likely to receive emergency-use authorisation by Friday,” said Tapas Strickland, economist at National Australia Bank.
Another reason is that “the EU and the UK agreed to extend trade talks (again), averting near-term risks of a hard exit,” Strickland added.
Nickel led the gains, with higher stainless steel prices in China and news that a nickel smelter in New Caledonia was running low on ore giving the metal used in stainless steel and car batteries a further boost.
Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange rose 2% to $17,625 by 0536 GMT, after hitting $17,780 earlier in the session, its highest since Oct 11, 2019.
The most-traded February nickel on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed as much as 3.4% to contract-high 133,190 yuan ($20,376.04) a tonne, advancing for a sixth consecutive session.
* The nickel smelter of Eramet SA’s SLN subsidiary in New Caledonia is running low on ore due to widespread protests over the sale of another nickel operation in the French Pacific territory.
* China Molybdenum Co has acquired a 95% stake in the Kisanfu copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo from U.S.-based Freeport-McMoRan Inc for $550 million.
Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Sherry Jacob-Phillips