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Markets

Copper climbs on Chinese factory data, infrastructure hopes

  • A stronger U.S. currency makes dollar-priced metals more expensive and less appealing to holders of other currencies.
Updated 01 Apr 2021

LONDON: Copper prices rose on Wednesday on strong factory data in top metals consumer China and on hopes for an influx of new U.S. infrastructure spending.

A stronger dollar and rising U.S. bond yields, however, curbed copper's gains.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had gained 0.1pc to $8,783 a tonne by 1600 GMT. But it has lost 3.3pc this month and is on track for the first monthly fall since March 2020.

"Today's focus is on Biden's infrastructure bill and the Chinese data is also quite positive, so that's providing some support," said Xiao Fu, head of commodity market strategy at Bank of China International in London.

"But the strong dollar is capping the upside and the option market is indicating that could last a bit longer."

China's manufacturing activity expanded at the quickest pace in three months in March as factories cranked up production, while in the United States President Joe Biden is due to unveil a roughly $2 trillion infrastructure package.

A buoyant dollar, which hit a fresh one-year high versus the yen and multi-month peaks against other currencies, weighed on the metals market.

A stronger U.S. currency makes dollar-priced metals more expensive and less appealing to holders of other currencies.

LME copper prices have been stuck in a range since slipping from a 9-1/2 year peak of $9,617 touched in late February, having surged by a quarter since the start of the year.

Papua New Guinea's Ok Tedi Mining Ltd's copper mining operations will resume from Thursday after they were suspended for two weeks due to a surge in COVID-19 cases at the mine site.

LME aluminium shed 1pc to $2,209.50 a tonne, zinc dipped 0.1pc to $2,806.50, lead added 0.2pc to $1,975, nickel gained 0.8pc to $16,075 while tin was unchanged at $25,310.

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