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Markets

London copper eases as investors eye next cue

  • Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.5pc to $6,456 a tonne by 0705 GMT.
04 Aug 2020

SINGAPORE: London copper prices edged lower on Tuesday, extending a narrow-range trading pattern as investors weighed bullish and bearish factors following a rally over the past few months.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.5pc to $6,456 a tonne by 0705 GMT.

The contract moved in a tight range of less than 1pc in each of the past three weeks after surging 52pc in four months to a two-year high in July.

Escalating US-China tensions, supply continuity from Chile, resurgence of COVID-19 cases and seasonally weaker China demand kept a lid on further rallies.

Prices have been supported, however, by economic recovery in some countries, a weaker dollar and hopes of further US stimulus package.

"After an astonishing rally seen in the second quarter of 2020, momentum seems to have been lost in the near term, absent a strong dominant theme," said ING analysts in a report.

"Unless a factor comes to the forefront, copper is likely to continue trading in a range-bound pattern," it said, expecting top consumer China to continue doing the "heavy lifting" for global copper demand.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.9pc to 51,540 yuan ($7,380.36) a tonne, tracking overnight gains in London.

FUNDAMENTALS

The front-month ShFE copper contract was traded at a 60-yuan discount to the second-month contract, suggesting that nearby supply tightness has eased, after ShFE inventories rebounded.

China's July excavator sales jumped over 40pc on-year, the Shanghai Securities News reported, indicating a strong construction sector that also consumes metals.

LME aluminium fell 0.3pc to $1,746 a tonne, zinc declined 0.5pc to $2,313.50 a tonne. ShFE aluminium hit a 27-month high at 14,830 yuan a tonne, while nickel jumped 1.3pc to 110,860 yuan a tonne.