Copper slips as COVID clouds outlook for Chinese demand – ET Auto

At 1700 GMT, benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 0.5% at $8,004 a tonne.

Copper prices fell on Friday as surging COVID-19 levels and lockdowns in China hit demand and the dollar strengthened, making metals costlier for buyers with other currencies.

Measures by China, the biggest metals consumer, to support its economy and property sector did provide support, however.

At 1700 GMT, benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 0.5% at $8,004 a tonne.

Copper has fallen 25% from a high in March as growth in China and elsewhere slowed. Prices of the metal used in power and construction are down 1% this week after falling almost 5% the week before.

“The market is building a bottom,” said Gianclaudio Torlizzi at consultants T-Commodity, predicting copper would head towards $9,000.

He said investors were too negative on the outlook for copper consumption and inventories were so low that “you don’t need a big increase in demand to push prices up”.

But analysts at Citi said that “amid a return of lockdowns in China and broader weakness in global demand … we instead expect more durable price recoveries later in 2023”.

China’s central bank said it is cutting bank reserve requirements to free up liquidity and sources said it will offer cheap loans to financial firms for buying bonds issued by property developers.

That came after commercial banks pledged at least $162 billion in fresh credit to property developers.

The global copper market was in deficit in the first nine months of this year and copper producer Codelco said the trade would be undersupplied by millions of tonnes in the coming decade.

Copper inventories in LME-registered warehouses have stabilised around the relatively low level of 90,000 tonnes.

But Shanghai Futures Exchange warehouse stocks fell 18% to 70,249 tonnes in the week to Friday and inventories in Chinese bonded warehouses have dwindled to nothing.

LME aluminium was up 0.1% at $2,369 a tonne, zinc rose 0.1% to $2,922, nickel fell 2.6% to $25,430, lead was down 0.5% at $2,118.50 and tin flat at $22,230.

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Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.8% at $8,072.50 a tonne by 0201 GMT, while the most-traded December copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.2% to 65,060 yuan ($9,111.92) a tonne.

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