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Markets

Copper on track for biggest monthly decline since March 2020

  • The metal was still up around 7pc for the April-June quarter, however - the fifth consecutive quarter of rising prices - after reaching an all-time peak of $10,747.50 on May 10.
01 Jul 2021

LONDON: Copper on Wednesday was on track for its biggest monthly fall since March 2020 as a stronger dollar, the threat of tighter U.S. monetary policy and moves by China to keep a lid on prices pulled the metal from record highs.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.8pc at $9,410 a tonne at 1715 GMT but down more than 8pc in June.

The metal was still up around 7pc for the April-June quarter, however - the fifth consecutive quarter of rising prices - after reaching an all-time peak of $10,747.50 on May 10.

"A lot of funds have liquidated positions," sapping momentum, said independent analyst Robin Bhar.

He said prices would be likely to rise again when the summer - traditionally a period of slow demand from industry - ends.

DEMAND: Many analysts say rising demand for copper in infrastructure and electrification will cause shortages and higher prices in the coming years.

FACTORIES: Growth in China's factory activity dipped to a four-month low in June. Other data showed that in May, Japan's industrial output fell by the most in a year and South Korea's dipped from April.

Chile's manufacturing output rose 8.9pc year-on-year in May and its copper output dipped 0.4pc, to 493,420 tonnes.

DOLLAR: The dollar was on track for its biggest monthly rise since November 2016 after a hawkish shift in the U.S. Federal Reserve's rates outlook. This hurt metals by making them more expensive for buyers with other currencies.

MARKETS: Global shares retreated from recent highs as Asian markets grew jittery about a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

CHINA: China is selling from state reserves of copper, aluminium and zinc as part of its pledge to control a surge in commodities prices.

FORECAST: Morgan Stanley forecast copper would average a little above $9,000 a tonne for the rest of the year.

PRICES: Benchmark aluminium was 1.1pc lower at $2,522.50 a tonne, zinc rose 0.9pc to $2,978, nickel was 0.8pc lower at $18,220, lead was down 1.4pc at $2,272 and tin fell 0.9pc to $31,070.

All were on track for quarterly gains and all except zinc were set for monthly gains.

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