Metals have further to fall: Citi

CITI has described the increase in Chinese economic activity as “compelling” but has warned the worst could still be ahead for several commodities.
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It recommended caution over the coming weeks.

Citi believes copper will fall as low as US$5300 per tonne, a level not seen since late 2016, while nickel will drop to $12,000/t, the lowest since mid-2019.

Copper is currently trading at $5655/t, while nickel is at $12,836/t.

Citi sees palladium pulling back from about $2500 an ounce now to $2100/oz, and iron ore dropping $20 to $70/t.

Analysts said year-on-year growth in China would be weak, resulting in larger than anticipated inventory builds during the June quarter.

"Surplus inventories are set to build more sharply than many expect over the coming weeks as the true extent of the underlying consumption weakness is revealed by an end to involuntary supply chain stocking globally," Citi said.

Also of note was the expected sharp increases in coronavirus cases in Europe and the US over the coming weeks, which could result in a demand shock outside China.

"European economic activity was already weak coming in to 2020 and the US consumer has been carrying the US economy for some time, so shocks to either of these would affect risk assets, resulting in CTA short and potentially China short positioning."

Citi said the scale of Chinese stimulus to date would not be enough to stimulate a rebound in global growth.

"For those looking towards 2021, such as consumers and deep-value investors, we find that copper and nickel may be worth considering adding to during the upcoming price weakness," Citi said.

"This is based on screening which metals are trading cheaply relative to their cost curve in the context of their long run price to cost relationships, and with respect to our 2021 forecasts."

The bank remains bullish on gold.

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