Copper edges higher; set for weekly drop on economic slowdown fears
NEW DELHI/BEIJING — Copper prices edged higher on Friday but they were on track for weekly losses, as fears of surging COVID-19 infections in top consumer China and interest rate hikes by major central banks, fueled fears of an economic slowdown.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.37% at $8,324.50 a tonne by 0425 GMT. It has declined 2.6% so far this week from a five-month high of $8,543 last Friday.
The most-traded January copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was down 1.05% at 65,320 yuan ($9,370.38) a tonne.
“As we approach the end of the year (enter the New Year), we believe the single largest unknown in the market is going to be the recovery timeline of China,” said Natalie Scott-Gray, a senior metals analyst, market analysis, EMEA & Asia at StoneX Financial Ltd.
China’s efforts to boost domestic growth next year will not be felt in the near-term, she added.
China has introduced some policies to bolster the property industry and is considering to roll out more to boost market’s confidence.
China also raced to vaccinate its most vulnerable people on Thursday in anticipation of more waves of COVID-19 infections, with some analysts expecting the death toll to soar after the country eased strict controls.
“The current surge in COVID-19 cases raises the prospect of the weakness persisting into December and early 2023,” ANZ Research said in a note.
The U.S. Federal Reserve and other major central banks raised policy rates this week, while indicating more hikes were likely, which has triggered fears of a global slowdown.
Among other metals, LME aluminum was up 0.57% at $2,397.50 a tonne, zinc edged lower by 0.05% to $3,158.50, and lead was up 0.23% to $2,158.
SHFE aluminum fell 0.43% to 18,705 yuan a tonne, tin dropped 1.41% to 190,800 yuan, zinc dipped 1.15% to 24,170 yuan, nickel was down 0.82% at 215,300 yuan, and lead was up 0.26% at 15,520 yuan.
For the top stories in metals and other news, click or ($1 = 6.9709 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Neha Arora in New Delhi and Siyi Liu in Beijing; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Rashmi Aich)
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