LME markets continue to trade in positive territory with all metals currently trading around 8% higher than the beginning of the month. That said with many of our Asian friends currently on holiday for the Chinese New Year festivities, LME and physical trade volumes will be slow until next week which also makes it difficult to gauge current pricing trends. With the Australian dollar ramping up for a big Australia Day (currently trading over 1.05c), metal prices in AUD terms are being dampened slightly.

**** Rising Base Metals Helped By Thin Volumes **** By Rhiannon Hoyle @

1310 GMT [Dow Jones] Thin volumes and the triggering of stops have exacerbated the move higher in the base metals, says Standard Bank analyst Leon Westgate. The metals have been climbing on a stronger euro in the absence of any economic data of significance. “The Chinese New Year holiday has had a predictable impact on LME turnover, with thin volumes being seen across the base metals complex,” he says, adding that news from Europe, particularly as Greek debt talks continue, will dominate trading again this week.

**** Toyota announces job cuts ****

Toyota Australia has confirmed it will cut 350 jobs due to pressures caused by the high Australian dollar.

Max Yasuda, the company’s Australian president, told workers of the bad news shortly after 4pm.
“It is unfortunate that we have to take this action and we will ensure affected employees are supported during this process,” he said.

“In consideration of current and anticipated market conditions this action is necessary. It is not possible to maintain our workforce at its current size. “Toyota Australia is facing severe operating conditions resulting in unsustainable financial returns due to factors including the strong Australian currency, reduced cost competitiveness and volume decline, especially in export markets.”

**** Dollar soars on renewed Greek optimism **** From

THE Australian dollar has soared above 105 US cents for the first time since October on renewed optimism that Greece will reach a deal with its creditors to avoid defaulting on its debt.

**** China Copper Imports May Overhang Market **** By Rhiannon Hoyle @

1317 GMT [Dow Jones] A jump in Chinese refined copper imports last month may create an oversupply there in the short term, says Standard Bank. “With little arbitrage activity, and lackluster physical demand, the increase in December imports may end up overhanging the market during 1Q,” it says. Data Saturday showed refined copper imports reached a monthly record volume of 406,937 tons in December, though full-year shipments slipped marginally on the back of weaker volumes earlier in the year.


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