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Markets

Copper rises as LME inventories dwindle to 13-year low

  • Benchmark copper on the LME traded up 1.1% at $6,559.50 a tonne.
24 Aug, 2020

LONDON: Copper prices rose on Monday as stockpiles in the London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouse system fell below 100,000 tonnes for the first time since 2007 and the approval of a coronavirus treatment in the United States boosted equities.

Benchmark copper on the LME traded up 1.1% at $6,559.50 a tonne in official rings, near last week's two-year high of $6,707.

Rebounding demand in China has pushed prices higher, but a surge of speculative buying means the market is vulnerable to a correction, said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann

"Prices have decoupled from fundamentals," he said.

STOCKS/SPREAD: Low stocks and a $16.75 premium for cash copper over the three-month contract point to tight nearby supply on the LME market.

Inventories in Shanghai Futures Exchange warehouses, however, have risen since June to 172,266 tonnes.

MARKETS: Equities rose after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the use of blood plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 as a treatment for the disease.

DOLLAR: With investors in the mood for riskier assets, the dollar weakened, making metals cheaper for buyers with other currencies.

POSITIONING: Speculators ramped up bets on higher copper prices on the Comex exchange, building their net long position to its highest since June 2018.

On the LME, the net long in copper was equal to 6.2% of open contracts by Wednesday, down from 18% in July, according to brokers Marex Spectron.

GRASBERG: More than a thousand mine workers in Indonesia blocked access to the huge Grasberg gold and copper mine on Monday to protest against coronavirus lockdown policy.

ALUMINIUM: China's July aluminium imports made a close to sevenfold leap year on year to their second-highest level on record.

JAPAN PREMIUMS: Trader Sumitomo Corp expects the Japanese aluminium premium to rise to $90 a tonne in the October-December quarter, up from $79 this quarter.

OTHER METALS: Aluminium was up 0.6% at $1,776 a tonne, zinc was flat at $2,456, nickel gained 1.5% to $14,906, lead firmed by 0.5% to $1,982.5 and tin dropped 2.1% to $17,205.

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