METALS-Copper steady, China demand worry offset by US rate hopes

By Reuters / September 05, 2022 / / Article Link

(Updates prices) By Pratima Desai LONDON, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Copper prices steadied on Mondayas worries about demand in top consumer China were offset by theprospect of U.S. interest rates peaking at a lower level thanpreviously expected. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME)was up 0.2% at $7,651 a tonne at 1614 GMT. China's weak property and industrial sectors, accounting fora large proportion of industrial metals demand, have dentedcopper and aluminium prices in recent weeks. Persistent COVID-19 curbs in China are also weighing onindustrial metals. "Let's see what Chinese data shows us. It doesn't lookpromising, we haven't yet seen the full picture of the damagefrom the lockdowns," one metals trader said. "Chinese stimulushasn't really done much for metals demand." A Reuters survey showed that China's export growth is likelyto have lost steam in August as global demand weakened, withimports expected to have also slowed because of sluggishconsumption. In the United States, the Federal Reserve is expected raiseinterest rates sharply in the coming months to cool inflation,but rising unemployment has traders betting that borrowing costsnext year may not end up quite as high as previously projected. This would be positive for growth and demand generally. Itcould also cap the dollar, making dollar-priced commodities moreattractive to buyers with other currencies. "The dollar has been a major drag on metals," the tradersaid, adding that some support has come in the form of lowinventories and supply constraints resulting from soaring energyprices. Low availability of stocks in LME-registered warehouses hasbeen a theme for many months. For copper , it hascreated a premium for cash metal over three-month contracts . Rising energy prices, which have ramped up to record highssince Russia invaded Ukraine in February, have curtailedaluminium production in Europe. Aluminium fell 0.4% to $2,285.5 a tonne, zinc gained 2.5% to $3,215, lead rose 0.1% to $1,890,tin rose 2.2% to $21,630 and nickel added 4.2%to $21,400. (Reporting by Pratima DesaiEditing by David Goodman and Jon Boyle)

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