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Fundamentals shaky, but funds fuel copper's rise to 2-week peak

  • Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange gained 0.9% to $9,461 a tonne in official trading.
  • Prices of the metal used by investors to make bets on manufacturing and economic growth earlier touched $9,536, the highest since June 16.
Published July 5, 2021
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LONDON: Copper prices rose on Monday to their highest in more than two weeks as the dollar's uptrend stalled and prompted fund buying, but expectations of higher supplies to come and slowing demand in top consumer China limited gains.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange gained 0.9% to $9,461 a tonne in official trading. Prices of the metal used by investors to make bets on manufacturing and economic growth earlier touched $9,536, the highest since June 16.

"Investors are dominating copper prices moves at the moment," said Dan Smith, managing director at Commodity Market Analytics. "But Chinese growth is slowing, inventories are building in China and beyond that mine supply rising."

DOLLAR: The rise of the US currency in recent months makes dollar-priced made metals more expensive for holders of other currencies, which has weighed on prices.

It steadied on Monday, giving metals a boost.

CHINA: Factory activity in China expanded at a softer pace in June, rising COVID-19 cases and supply chain woes drove output growth to the lowest in 15 months.

ED&F Man Capital Markets analyst Edward Meir said the bias for copper "could be somewhat lower considering growing COVID related lockdowns in Asia and the state of the physical markets in China".

STOCKS: Copper stocks in bonded warehouses in China rose to their highest since July 2019 and at 435,600 tonnes, they are up more than 25% since the middle of February.

OTHER METALS: Aluminium dipped 0.1% to $2,558.50 a tonne, zinc gained 0.7% to $2,955, lead rose 0.7% to $2,315.50, tin climbed 0.9% to $31,800 and nickel added 0.1% to $18,368.

NICKEL: Expectations of shortages have created a premium for the cash over the three month LME contract.

Traders say the premium is due to a variety of factors including tight exchange stocks, Russia's planned export tax on nickel and the strike at Vale's Sudbury operation in Canada.

LEAD: Worries about supplies and draws on stocks in LME registered warehouses are behind the premium for the cash over the three-month contract.

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