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Markets

Copper slips as Chinese data raises doubts over demand

  • The metal used in power and construction reached $6,633 on Monday after a spectacular rally from $4,371 in March, when the coronavirus spread worldwide.
  • The head of the International Monetary Fund said the global economy is "not out of the woods yet".
16 Jul 2020

LONDON: Copper prices slipped further from two-year highs on Thursday as mixed Chinese data and an escalating U.S-China confrontation triggered falls across industrial metals and broader markets.

China, the largest metals user, posted a forecast-beating 3.2% year-on-year increase in GDP in the second quarter and a rise in industrial output, but signs of weak demand at home and abroad pushed its stock markets down almost 5%.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 0.5% at $6,355 a tonne by 1056 GMT.

The metal used in power and construction reached $6,633 on Monday after a spectacular rally from $4,371 in March, when the coronavirus spread worldwide.

"We've got price-negative news in both supply and demand," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen, pointing to doubts over the strength of Chinese consumption and signs that supply from South America will be less disrupted than feared.

"If we start to see the supply side normalise and become a bit more visible, we'll start to ask whether it's really sustainable to see prices at pre-coronavirus levels," he added.

CONFRONTATION: The United States said it had not ruled out further sanctions on top Chinese officials to punish China for its handling of Hong Kong and that it is studying the national security risks of social media applications including China's TikTok and WeChat.

China said it will respond to what it described as "bullying" tactics from Washington.

POLL: Analysts polled by Reuters expect LME cash copper to average $6,173 a tonne in the fourth quarter.

ECONOMY: The head of the International Monetary Fund said the global economy is "not out of the woods yet".

ECB: The European Central Bank is all but certain to keep policy on hold at a meeting on Thursday.

CHINA OUTPUT: China's primary aluminium production rose to 3.02 million tonnes - its highest in six months - in June.

OTHER METALS: LME aluminium was down 1.2% at $1,663 a tonne, zinc firmed 0.1% to $2,202, nickel fell 2% to $13,260, lead slipped 0.5% to $1,834.50 and tin was down 0.7% at $17,155.

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