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Markets

Copper ticks higher, close to 2013 peak, on infrastructure hopes

  • LME aluminium shed 0.4% to $2,030 a tonne, zinc added 0.3% to $2,868, lead slid 1.5% to $2,032.50 and tin lost 0.3% to $21,050.
07 Jan 2021

LONDON: Copper prices edged up on Thursday close to their highest levels since 2013 on optimism about infrastructure spending by incoming U.S. President Joe Biden after his party won control of the Senate.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.2% to $8,054 a tonne by 1115 GMT after it hit $8,169 in the previous session, its highest since February 2013.

Democrats on Wednesday completed a sweep of two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia, giving the party control of the chamber and boosting Biden's plans to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure.

"The overwhelming theme is the reflation trade at the moment. With the Democratic Party having control of Congress there's more room to get its bills approved," said Xiao Fu, head of commodity market strategy at Bank of China International.

"For now the positive sentiment will continue. Financial markets are pricing in quite a strong recovery and there's optimism about infrastructure stimulus."

The most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed up 1% at 59,380 yuan ($9,198.36) a tonne.

LME nickel hit its highest since September 2019 at $18,190 a tonne and ShFE nickel rose 2.9% to 133,270 yuan a tonne after stainless steel futures surged as much 5% in China and as inventories in the country slid.

Nickel, mainly used in stainless steel, later pared gains on the LME to $17,840, up 0.4%.

"We understand that onshore (Chinese) stainless steel prices have been supported by firm downstream demand as well as low inventory," Alastair Munro at broker Marex Spectron said in a note.

LME aluminium inventories fell to their lowest since April 2020 at 1.31 million tonnes while the U.S. aluminium premium rose to its strongest since Sept. 16 at $329.33 a tonne.

LME aluminium shed 0.4% to $2,030 a tonne, zinc added 0.3% to $2,868, lead slid 1.5% to $2,032.50 and tin lost 0.3% to $21,050.

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