LONDON: Copper prices edged higher on Thursday on hopes that the US Federal Reserve have stopped hiking rates, which pushed the dollar lower.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose 0.4% at $8,140 per metric ton in official open-outcry trading, extending a rebound since touching an 11-month low of $7,856 on Oct. 23. Industrial metals joined equities, oil and other assets in rallying after investors opted for a dovish interpretation of comments by Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday.
“Powell has basically gone neutral with his monetary policy at the moment. He feels comfortable that inflation is becoming increasingly under control,” said Tom Price, head of commodities strategy at Liberum.
Views that US interest rates have hit a peak sent the dollar index lower, making it cheaper for holders of other currencies to buy the greenback-priced commodity.
“The combination of the Fed easing the rate hike cycle and China expressing support for the economy is supportive to slightly bullish for metal prices,” Price said.
China last week approved a 1 trillion-yuan sovereign bond issue and passed a bill allowing local governments to front-load part of their 2024 bond quotas to support investment.
“A lot of investors have bought commodities to hedge against inflation, but if the Fed is doing a really good job of curbing inflation, why have a position in no-yield commodities?” China’s spot premium for refined copper eased from a two-month high touched earlier this week, following more arrivals of imports and improved supply in the market, a copper buyer said.
Zinc built on gains seen on Wednesday after Netherlands-based Nyrstar said it plans to temporarily close two US zinc mines. LME zinc gained 1% to $2,524 a ton after hitting a one-month high in the previous session and SHFE zinc climbed 2.7% to a three-week high. LME aluminium was little changed in official activity at $2,237 a ton, while lead added 0.4% to $2,112.50, nickel edged up 0.1% to $18,025 and tin rose 0.3% to $23,975.