London copper prices edged higher on Wednesday, as hopes of more stimulus from top metals consumer China eclipsed pressure from a stronger dollar and global growth worries.
Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.1% at $10,319 a tonne, as of 0510 GMT, after hitting a two-week peak on Tuesday.
The most-active May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended the morning session down 0.7% at 74,620 yuan ($11,664.11).
China central bank urged financial institutions to step up support for the contact-intensive service sector and small firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The market keeps on looking to China for policy hints. I think policymakers are reluctant to stimulate housing sectors until COVID restrictions are in place,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.
“On a positive note, once those restrictions have been lifted, mainland regulators entourage banks to throw a lot of cash at the housing market.”
Suspension of operations at Las Bambas mine in Peru, which accounts for 2% of global copper supply, also stocked concerns over shortages.
Keeping a lid on prices, the dollar index held firm near a two-year peak against its rivals, making greenback-denominated metals more expensive for buyers using other currencies.
Dampening market appetite, the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday slashed its forecast for global economic growth by nearly a full percentage point, citing the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
PANDEMIC: Mainland China reported 19,927 new coronavirus cases for April 19, of which 2,761 were symptomatic and 17,166 asymptomatic.
NICKEL: Vale Indonesia’s nickel matte output in January-March stood at 13,827 tonnes, 9% lower than the 15,198 tonnes produced in the year-ago period.
OTHER METALS: LME aluminium eased 0.4% to $3,248 a tonne, zinc edged 0.1% lower to $4,493, lead fell 0.6% to $2,432, while tin gained 0.4% to $43,250.
Shanghai aluminium slipped 1.2%, nickel dipped 1.1%, lead also down 1.1%, while tin eased 0.1%.