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Markets

Copper climbs on supply concerns, lower dollar

  • "Copper prices have settled around $9,000, not $8,000, which tells you the market is fairly tight," said Guy Wolf, global head of analytics at Marex.
  • "The outlook is very uncertain, the key thing is will vaccines stop the spread of the coronavirus. Once people believe the vaccine stops you infecting other people, things will start moving."
08 Apr 2021

LONDON: Copper prices climbed on Thursday as concern about available supplies and a lower dollar reinforced bullish sentiment, but rising inventories capped gains as the market waited for trade data from top consumer China.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.8% at $8,988 a tonne at 1104 GMT. Prices of the metal used widely in the power and construction industries are down 6% since hitting 9-1/2 year highs of $9,617 last month.

"Copper prices have settled around $9,000, not $8,000, which tells you the market is fairly tight," said Guy Wolf, global head of analytics at Marex.

"The outlook is very uncertain, the key thing is will vaccines stop the spread of the coronavirus. Once people believe the vaccine stops you infecting other people, things will start moving."

SUPPLY: Treatment charges -- to turn copper concentrate into metal -- have crashed because of disruptions to mine supply globally. Smelters have had to accept lower treatment charges to ensure they have enough feedstock to keep their operations going. .

DOLLAR: A lower US currency makes dollar-denominated metals cheaper for holders of other currencies, which could potentially boost demand.

INVENTORIES: Copper stocks at 157,075 tonnes in LME registered warehouse have more than doubled since early March.

However, cancelled warrants -- metal earmarked for delivery -- at 36% and large holdings of copper warrants are fuelling worry about availability on the LME market, which has created a premium for the cash over the three-month contract.

TRADE: Data on Chinese imports and exports for March are due on Friday. Both are expected to see large percentage increases.

INFRASTRUCTURE: US President Joe Biden is expected to meet with lawmakers on his proposed infrastructure bill, which is expected to give a boost to demand for industrial metals, in the coming weeks.

OTHER METALS: Aluminium rose 0.8% to $2,279 a tonne, zinc rose 1% to $2,862 a tonne, lead was little changed at $1,993, tin was a touch firmer at $25,800 and nickel gained 1.1% to $16,820.