Copper hits 3-week low as dovish Fed dampens rate-cut outlook

Madiha Shakeel August 1, 2019

BEIJING: London copper prices slipped to a three-week low on Thursday, after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank’s first rate cut since 2008 was not the start of a long easing cycle, while Sino-U.S. trade talks appeared to have made little progress.

The Fed lowered interest rates by the expected 25 basis points, but the dollar jumped on Powell’s comments, making dollar-denominated metals more expensive for holders of other currencies and weighing on prices.

The trade talks in Shanghai ended without any meaningful progress, “highlighting the reality that a deal is far from being reached,” ANZ said in a note, adding that China’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) was also “mildly disappointing” for the base metals sector.

The official PMI rose to 49.7 in July, from the previous month’s 49.4, but remained below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis. The private Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI, released on Thursday, was largely in line with the official gauge.

FUNDAMENTALS

* COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange dropped for a third session, by as much as 0.6% to $5,893.50 a tonne, the lowest since July 10. It stood at $5,912.50 a tonne, as of 0523 GMT. The most-traded September copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped 0.4% to 46,670 yuan a tonne by the end of the morning session.

* USD: The dollar rose to a two-year peak against the euro and hit a two-month high versus the yen.

* OTHER METALS: Nickel and zinc fell furthest in London, shedding 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively. Tin was the only metal to rise, adding 0.6% to $17,410 a tonne.

* ALUMINIUM: A Chinese billionaire has been indicted by a grand jury on charges he schemed with the aluminium company he founded to evade $1.8 billion of tariffs by smuggling huge amounts of the metal into the United States, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Copyright Reuters, 2019

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