Zambian Business Times

Copper eases amidst concerns over Chinese demand


London copper prices slid for a second session on Friday, with the market set for its biggest weekly decline since late April on concerns over demand in top consumer China.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.4% to $7,152 a tonne while the most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slid 0.6% to 53,490 yuan ($8,339.31) a tonne.

For the week, LME copper has dropped 2.2%, the biggest weekly loss since the week ending April 27. The Shanghai contract was down 1.2%, the most since the week ending March 23.

China’s industrial output, investment and retail sales all grew less than expected, offsetting upbeat trade data and suggesting further weakness ahead if Beijing sustains its crackdown on factory pollution and local government spending.

“The weaker-than-expected economic data from China weighed on the base metals,” ANZ said in a note. “Sentiment wasn’t helped by the strength in the U.S. dollar.” The dollar index gained about 0.2% to a two-week high of 94.973, after rallying more than 1% on Thursday 14 June. Stronger dollar makes greenback priced commoditie­s expensive for buyers holding other currencies.

China’s economy is finally starting to cool under the weight of a multi-year crackdown on riskier lending that is pushing up borrowing costs for companies and consumers, with data on Thursday June 14th pointing to a broad slowdown in activity in May.

While slower Chinese growth suggested lower demand, China’s output of 10 non-ferrous metals including copper, aluminium, lead, zinc and nickel rose 4.3% in May from a year earlier to 4.55 million tonnes. Aluminium production was up 1.5% at 2.79 million tonnes.

U.S. President Trump has made up his mind to impose “pretty significan­t” tariffs on Chinese goods, an administra­tion official said on Thursday, as Beijing warned that it was ready to respond if Washington chose to ratchet up trade tensions.

Anglo American said on Thursday it had agreed that Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp should raise its stake in the Quell Aveco copper project in Peru by 21.9 percent for $600 million, taking its holding to 40%.

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