How Tin Led the Base Metal Inventory Draw-Down

Val Kensington - Author

Aug. 18 2020, Updated 5:24 a.m. ET

LME base metal inventories fall

On Monday, February 8, the inventory levels of all base metals decreased on the London Metal Exchange, or LME. Tin saw the biggest inventory drop of all base metals, with a fall of 2.3%.

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Copper and aluminum inventories drop

On February 8, the copper inventory fell 0.68% and reached 227,100 tons. The highest inventory level of copper in recent times was recorded at 371,250 tons on August 28, 2015. The copper inventory has fallen 38.8% since then.

The LME aluminum inventory has been in a downward trend since the beginning of 2015. On February 8, the aluminum inventory fell 0.21% to 2,768,125 tons. In the week ending February 6, the LME aluminum inventory fell 0.98% to 2,773,975 tons. Last year, the LME aluminum inventory fell 31.7%.

Nickel and zinc inventories fall

The LME nickel inventory decreased 1.8% in the week ending February 6 and reached 440,082 tons. On February 8, the nickel inventory decreased 0.21% and reached 439,140 tons. The LME nickel inventory reached a low of 393,228 tons on December 9, 2015, and has risen 11.7% from that low.

In the week ending February 6, the LME zinc inventory decreased by 0.41% and reached 474,750 tons. On February 8, the zinc inventory fell 0.42% and reached 462,075 tons. The peak inventory level for zinc in recent times is 617,325 tons, which was recorded on September 15, 2015. The zinc inventory has fallen 25.2% since then.

Tin and lead inventories drop

The tin inventory declined 2.3% to 4,515 tons on February 8. In the week ending February 6, the tin inventory decreased 17.9% to 4,620 tons. The LME tin inventory declined 49% in 2015. The lead inventory decreased 0.28% and reached 183,725 tons on February 8.

The base metal miners Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), Alcoa (AA), BHP Billiton (BHP), and Rio Tinto (RIO) fell 0.7%, 2.3%, 1.4%, and 2.8%, respectively on February 8. The PowerShares DB Base Metals Fund (DBB) fell 2% on the day.


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