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Markets

Copper slides on profit-taking, focus on demand outside China

  • Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.5pc at $6,500 a tonne at 1026 GMT.
22 Jul 2020

LONDON: Copper prices fell on Wednesday as a stronger dollar triggered profit-taking and markets waited to see how consumption will hold up outside China, where robust demand due to stimulus fuelled the recent rally.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.5pc at $6,500 a tonne at 1026 GMT.

Prices of the metal used widely in the power and construction industries earlier touched $6,601.50, close to the two-year high of $6,633 seen last week.

"We are due a summer pause and some retracement after the China-driven recovery," BMO Capital Markets analyst Colin Hamilton said, adding that further gains would depend on demand in the rest of the world.

"End of August, early September will be an important time for the base metals trajectory for the rest of the year. That's when purchasing managers come back to their desks from holidays."

DOLLAR: A rising U.S currency makes dollar-denominated metals more expensive for holders of other currencies and weighs on demand.

The relationship is used by funds to generate buy and sell signals from numerical models.

STIMULUS: China's central bank does not see an immediate need to ease monetary policy further, but will keep conditions accommodative to support a recovery in the world's second-largest economy.

SPREAD: The premium for the cash over the three-month copper contract is $16 a tonne, the highest since March 2019.

Worries about nearby supplies due to falling copper stocks and large holdings of warrants and cash contracts are behind the premium.

TIN: Historically low stocks in LME-approved warehouses, supply disruptions, output cuts and expectations of a large deficit earlier pushed tin prices to six-month highs of $17,865 a tonne.

Tin prices were last up 0.8pc at $17,700.

STOCKS: Large deliveries of zinc and lead to LME warehouses, suggesting hefty surpluses and weak demand, weighed on prices.

Zinc was 1.4pc lower at $2,214 a tonne and lead shed 1.5pc to $1,820.

OTHER METALS: Aluminium was down 0.6pc at $1,687 a tonne and nickel ceded 1.5pc to $13,265 a tonne.

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