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Copper gains as world's biggest mine prepares for strike

  • Benchmark copper was up 0.2% at $9,512 a tonne
  • Used in power and construction, copper has gained more than 20% this year and touched a record high of $10,747.50 in May
Published August 6, 2021

Copper prices rose on Friday as a union at the world's biggest copper mine, Chile's Escondida, told workers to prepare for a strike, but gains were limited by a strengthening of the dollar after solid US payrolls data.

A stronger dollar makes metals costlier for buyers with other currencies.

Benchmark copper was up 0.2% at $9,512 a tonne at 1432 GMT but still down more than 2% this week amid concerns that demand in top consumer China will weaken.

"Dr Copper is supposed to give a good reading of how the economy is doing, and I think we are in limbo phase right now," said WisdomTree analyst Nitesh Shah.

"Economic growth is back but there's some doubt with the Delta variant (of the coronavirus)."

Copper slips for fifth day on China demand concerns

Used in power and construction, copper has gained more than 20% this year and touched a record high of $10,747.50 in May.

Shah said prices would be supported over the longer term by demand for infrastructure and underinvestment in new mines.

MARKETS: The Dow and the S&P 500 reached record highs and the dollar saw its biggest gain since June after data showed US job growth powering ahead.

STRIKE: More than 2,000 union members at the Escondida mine rejected a contract offer. Local law requires five days of mediation after a contract is rejected, followed by a possible five-day extension if a deal cannot be reached.

GERMANY: Industrial output in Germany again fell unexpectedly in June.

Copper drifts as focus turns to US jobs data

CHINA: Robust export growth is likely to have moderated in July, a Reuters poll showed. China's factory activity also expanded in July at its slowest pace in 17 months.

COVID: China reported 124 new confirmed coronavirus cases, the highest daily count in its current outbreak.

DRC: China Molybdenum said it would spend $2.51 billion to roughly double production of copper and cobalt at its Tenke Fungurume mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

PRICES: LME aluminium was up 0.1% at $2,591 a tonne, zinc fell 1.8% to $2,973, nickel lost 0.8% to $19,325, lead slipped 3.5% to $2,279 and tin was up 0.5% at $34,795.

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