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Markets

Copper slips on profit-taking, worries over Brexit, U.S. stimulus

  • Copper has been buoyed recently by bullish developments, including strong demand from China and possible supply problems.
11 Dec 2020

LONDON: Copper tripped lower on Friday after touching another multi-year peak, hit by profit-taking amid worries about a U.S. stimulus deal and a potential collapse in Brexit talks.

Global equities also slipped after prospects faded for near-term COVID-19 aid funding in the United States and the odds rose for a disorderly exit of Britain from the European Union.

Copper has been buoyed recently by bullish developments, including strong demand from China and possible supply problems.

"So much good news has already been priced into the market. Profit taking after such a strong rally is not surprising and we also have risk-off sentiment today in the equities market," said analyst Carsten Menke at Julius Baer in Zurich.

"Typically, if you have this kind of excessively bullish mood and with this stretched positioning in the futures market, a 10pc correction would not be unusual."

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) had shed 1.2pc to $7,786 a tonne by 1050 GMT after hitting $7,973.50, the highest since February 2013.

At Friday's peak, copper had soared 82pc since touching 45-month lows in March during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The price of nickel, mainly used for stainless steel, on the Shanghai Futures Exchange hit its upper limit after Chinese iron ore futures soared nearly 10pc to an all-time high.

The most active January nickel contract ended daytime trade up 4.7pc at 129,250 yuan ($19,758.47) a tonne.

LME nickel, jumped to a 14-month high of $17,660 before easing 0.6pc to $17,335.

Also weighing on metals markets was a firmer dollar index after three straight weeks of losses, making commodities priced in the U.S. currency more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

China's vehicle sales are likely to hit 25 million units this year, an industry body said, as the world's biggest vehicle market continued to lead the global auto industry recovery from lows hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

LME aluminium fell 1pc to $2,040.50 a tonne, zinc dropped 0.6pc to $2,849, lead declined 0.4pc to $2,080 and tin lost 0.6pc to $19,355.

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