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China demand worries knock copper market sentiment

  • China's trade data, industrial production and GDP data due this week will be watched closely for demand prospects.
Published July 12, 2021
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LONDON: Copper prices slipped on Monday on concerns about demand prospects in top consumer China where economic recovery appeared to be slowing, while rising inventories reinforced negative sentiment.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 1% at $9,420 a tonne at 0953 GMT. For the last couple of weeks prices of the metal used in the power and construction industries have mostly traded in a $300 range.

"China's central bank cutting its RRR (reserve requirement ratio) worried the market, it suggests they are trying to prop up slowing growth," a copper trader said. "Copper stocks going up are a sign of weak demand."

Copper prices slip

CHINA: Chinese banks extended 2.12 trillion yuan ($327 billion) in new yuan loans in June, up from 1.5 trillion yuan in May , while total social financing (TSF), a widely watched measure in metals markets, rose to 3.67 trillion yuan from 1.92 trillion yuan.

"Our China strategists ... think this represents an easing on the brake rather than the start of broad-based stimulus," BCA Research said in a note.

China's trade data, industrial production and GDP data due this week will be watched closely for demand prospects.

INVENTORIES: Copper stocks in LME registered warehouses at 219,175 tonnes have over the last three weeks climbed nearly 40%.

Ample supplies on the LME market are behind the discount for the cash over the three-month contract. Friday's close at $37.30 a tonne was the highest since August 2018.

DOLLAR: Weighing on industrial metals overall was the higher U.S. currency, which when it rises makes dollar-priced metals more expensive for holders of other currencies.

OTHER METALS: Aluminium was down 1.1% at $2,473.5, a tonne, zinc fell 0.7% to $2,956.5, lead slipped 0.7% to $2,314, tin rose 0.7% to $31,915 and nickel ceded 0.9% to $18,580.

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

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

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