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Markets

Copper steadies after rising COVID infections knock prices

  • Benchmark copper on LME was up 0.2% at $9,244.50 a tonne in official trading
20 Jul 2021

LONDON: Copper edged higher on Tuesday after falling 2.2% in the previous session, when surging coronavirus infection rates triggered a sell-off of assets like metals, equities and oil that benefit from economic growth.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.2% at $9,244.50 a tonne in official trading.

Prices reached a record high of $10,747.50 in May.

"The situation is changed in copper, which argues for a lower trading range," said independent analyst Robin Bhar.

Copper prices rise

"Fundamentals are weaker than a few months ago. Demand is down, China is slowing and we're definitely seeing less tightness in supply," he said.

MARKETS: European shares on Tuesday bounced back from their worst day of the year, U.S. stock futures were higher and oil steadied.

The dollar, however, added to its gains, making metals costlier for non-U.S. buyers, and U.S. 10-year bond yields hit five-month lows amid fears that the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant could derail economic recovery.

STOCKS: On-warrant copper stocks in LME-registered warehouses rose to 212,725 tonnes, the highest since May 2020.

However, inventories in Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) and Comex exchange warehouses are falling.

PERU: Peru's electoral authority named socialist Pedro Castillo president. Peru is the world's second-largest copper-producer, and Castillo has pledged to hike taxes on miners.

VALE: Brazilian miner Vale said it was reviewing its guidance for 2021 nickel and copper output after strikes and "extraordinary climate conditions" affected production.

LEAD/ZINC: The global lead market was 32,800 tonnes oversupplied in May and the zinc market was 17,900 tonnes undersupplied, the International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) said.

ALUMINIUM: Global primary aluminium output fell to 5.549 million tonnes in June from a revised 5.75 million tonnes in May, the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) said.

NICKEL: Russian miner Nornickel said its second-quarter nickel output fell 30% quarter-on-quarter to 32,644 tonnes.

PRICES: Aluminium was up 0.7% at $2,442.50 a tonne, zinc fell 0.8% to $2,954.50, lead rose 0.9% to $2,305.50, tin added 0.8% to $33,653 and nickel was 0.6% higher at $18,577.

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