LONDON: A bullish mood on US markets pushed copper slightly higher on Thursday, ending a four-day losing run triggered by concerns over the demand outlook from top consumer China.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.3% at $9,492.50 a tonne at 1600 GMT.
The metal used in power and construction, which is expected to benefit from a global move from fossil fuels to electrification, has fallen from a record high of $10,747.50 in May but is still up more than 20% this year.
“We’ve got forces pulling in opposite directions,” said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.
“The longer term bullish narrative hasn’t changed much ... (but) the market’s a bit worried about the Chinese slowdown,” he said.
Copper has slipped below its short-term moving averages, worsening its technical picture. But key support is around $8,700, where copper’s 200-day moving average currently sits, Hansen said.
MARKETS: US stocks and oil prices rebounded as unemployment claims declined and the US trade deficit widened, two signs of positive economic momentum.
COVID: A Chinese health official said he expected a coronavirus outbreak in China to be largely under control within weeks.
FACTORIES: German industrial orders rose more than expected in June.
INFRASTRUCTURE: A $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill faces a test in the Senate on Thursday.
OUTLOOK: Industrial metals will likely fall in 2021 and 2022 with copper averaging $7,500 a tonne in the last quarter of next year, analysts at Capital Economics said.
“Underpinning this view are our forecasts for economic growth to slow in China, a continued rebound in supply from major producers, and a stronger US dollar,” they said.
LEAD: The premium for cash lead over three month metal on the LME eased to $39.50 from as high as $89 on Wednesday, the highest since 2011. A premium signals low availability of quickly deliverable material.
Lead inventories in LME-registered warehouses at 58,850 tonnes are the lowest since July 2019.
METALS PRICES: LME aluminium was up 1.2% at $2,596 a tonne, zinc rose 1.7% to $3,024.50, nickel added 1.2% to $19,470, lead fell 1% to $2,355.50 and tin was 0.2% higher at $34,690.