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Analysis: Trading volume of LME US hot-rolled coil tops out near one-week high

Houston — Trading volumes for the London Metal Exchange's US hot-rolled coil contract rose significantly last week, hitting its second-highest weekly total since the contract's launch in March.

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In the most recently ended week, the contract registered 11,870 st of interoffice trades, up from 2,000 st during the week of August 26. Last week's trading volume was at the second-highest level since 15,300 st during the week of July 8.

The contract has traded a total of 98,260 st since its launch in March. Trading volumes have picked back up in September after remaining at lower levels in August. The contract traded 19,310 st tons in August compared to nearly 12,000 st through the first full trading week of September.

Mostly stable physical spot prices and summer holidays limited trading activity in August. Trading activity picked up last week as physical prices have slid. The daily Platts TSI US HRC assessment has fallen by $30.25/st since August 27 to settle at $582.75/st on Friday. Physical spot prices remained in a narrow band until the end of August. The daily Platts TSI US HRC price traded in a $4.75/st band from the beginning of last month until August 27.

The forward curve remained in backwardation through the first six months, with a slight pickup last week from a major selloff for the remainder of 2019 the week prior. The September contract settled at $572/st on Friday, up from $558/st at the beginning of the week. The October contract settled at $549/st on Friday, down from $558/st at the beginning of the week. The February contract settled at $562/st at the end of last week, down from $567.50/st at the beginning of last week.

Backwardation through the first six months signals that the market expects lower prices taking place in the last quarter of this year.

-- Ali Oktay, ali.oktay@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Richard Rubin, newsdesk@spglobal.com