BEIJING: Copper prices rose on Wednesday, supported by supply disruptions and expectation of a demand recovery in top consumer China, even as the dollar held firm after sticky US inflation suggested interest rates would remain higher for longer.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange climbed 0.5% to $8,993 a tonne by 0209 GMT, while the most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was up 0.8% at 69,040 yuan ($10,109.83) a tonne.
Supply disruptions amid political unrest in copper-rich South American countries and extreme weather conditions in Indonesia have raised concerns about copper concentrate availability in China.
China, the world’s main copper smelter, produced 853,300 tonnes of refined copper in January, up 4.3% on-year but lower than the expected 895,000 tonnes, according to Shanghai Metals Market. Demand has remained subdued in the first quarter, and some participants expect it to recover from the second quarter. China’s central bank ramped up medium-term liquidity injections as it rolled over maturing policy loans, while keeping the interest rate unchanged, matching market expectations.
The dollar found some support after stubbornly high US inflation suggested interest rates are going to remain high for longer than investors had expected.
LME aluminium was up 0.1% to $2,410.50 a tonne, lead gained 0.1% to $2,097.50 a tonne, tin moved up 0.7% to $27,000 a tonne, while zinc nudged 0.1% down to $3,085 a tonne, SHFE aluminium was little changed at 18,565 yuan a tonne, zinc climbed 0.3% to 23,115 yuan a tonne, lead dipped 0.2% to 15,235 yuan a tonne, while tin fell 1.6% to 213,640 yuan a tonne, nickel rose 1% to 208,650 yuan a tonne.