LONDON: Copper and aluminium prices edged up on Friday, supported by a weaker dollar and thin inventories, but worries that central bank rate hikes would curb growth and metal demand capped gains.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose 0.02% to $9,834 a tonne in official open-outcry trading, putting it on track to gain more than 3% this week.
The Bank of England on Thursday raised interest rates for the second time in as many months, while the European Central Bank (ECB) was more hawkish than expected.
“The question in peoples’ minds is what kind of impact will it have on the economic outlook,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank in Copenhagen.
“That growth concern is keeping the market from rallying, where there is underlying strong appetite for commodities both from real buyers but also from speculators and investors.” A break by copper above $10,000 a tonne, moving out of its $500 range, would attract buyers waiting on the sidelines, Hansen added.
Volumes have been muted during a week-long holiday in top metals consumer China.
The dollar index was set for its worst week in nearly two years as the euro tested highs not reached in almost three months, buoyed by the ECB’s hawkish “pivot”. A softer U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated metals cheaper for buyers using other currencies.
“As for LME inventories, the market continues to see outflows in major base metals, which has provided strong support,” ING commodities strategists said in a note. Copper inventories in LME-approved warehouses have shed more than 60% from the 2021 peak scaled in August to 82,225 tonnes.
LME aluminium rose 0.4% to $3,063 a tonne, zinc advanced 0.7% to $3,623, lead climbed 1.2% to $2,218, tin added 0.2% to $43,000 and nickel gained 0.3% to $22,925.