This week’s comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’.

Base metal inventories remain tight.  Most focus still remains on sentiment, tariffs and trade wars. 

SUMMARY  

*Copper  China-USA trade talks prompt optimism in markets, hitherto beaten about by the tariff wars.

Cobalt  LME Co inventories increased and prices slumped, (though this contract is noted as illiquid).

Nickel  Cobalt27 to acquire Highlands Pacific (and thereby its interest in Ramu (Ni-Co)).

*Zinc & Lead  Zn & Pb markets are expected to present interesting opportunities in 2019 (Trafigura).

Tin  PT Timah to increase output and tin grades.

Aluminium  India considering measures to protect its Al industry with import duties.

*Gold  Prices at over 6mo highs.  AUD Au price at long term highs.

Platinum & Palladium  Zimbabwe to suspend a 2015 tax on raw platinum exports.

*Oil  Prices boosted by optimism ahead of USA-China trade talks on 7-8 Jan.

Coal  No Dec18Qtr contract HCC pricing announcements yet?  Chinese port restrictions reduced.

Iron Ore  Steel prices up as restocking expectations take precedence.

Shipping  Freight rates up.

General 

USA- PMI:  Down sharply, though still outlook is for (slower) positive growth.

Luang Prabang – Rice prices.