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Markets

Copper soars to 9-year high on tight supply, weak dollar

  • Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) added 2.3% to $8,746 per tonne.
  • The return of the Chinese market post the Lunar New Year has seen some renewed interest in base metals.
Published February 19, 2021

LONDON: Copper jumped to its highest in nine years on Friday and its third straight week of weekly gains as tight supplies and bullish sentiment towards base metals continued following the Chinese New Year.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) added 2.3% to $8,746 per tonne by 1130 GMT. The metal used in power and construction is at its highest since February 2012.

"The return of the Chinese market post the Lunar New Year has seen some renewed interest in base metals," said Gianclaudio Torlizzi, a partner at consultancy T-Commodity in Milan.

"The very short term for copper is bullish, but we are in the latest phase of a rally and we would look to short the area closer to $9,000."

INVENTORIES: Inventories of copper in warehouse registered with the LME are near 2005 lows at 75,700 tonnes, keeping the premium of cash copper over the three-month contract elevated at around $20 a tonne.

Cancelled warrants, metal earmarked for delivery, account for about 39% and further fuelled concerns about tight supply on the LME market.

POSITIONING: Speculative interest in copper was elevated, adding to interest in the metal.

The net speculative long on the LME copper is seen at 45% of open interest at Wednesday's close, near the year-to-date peak of 46% last month, according to brokerage Marex Spectron.

CHINA STOCKS: Stocks of copper, zinc and aluminium jumped in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange after the as inventories built up over the Chinese New Year.

DOLLAR: A weaker dollar also helped boost the appeal of greenback-priced metals.

LME aluminium gained 0.9% to $2,157 a tonne, zinc advanced 1% to $2,885, lead gained 0.9% to $2,137, and tin climbed 1.9% to $25,390, while nickel added 2% to $19,535.

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