Copper subdued as Fed minutes in focus


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Benchmark London copper steadied on Wednesday, after trading in a narrow range during Asian hours ahead of the keenly awaited minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s most recent meeting.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was virtually flat at $8,318 a tonne, as of 0700 GMT.

On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, however, the most-traded February copper contract ended daytime trade 1.7% lower at 64,560 yuan ($9,372.82) a tonne.

A surge of COVID-19 infections in top metals consumer China, along with looming weak growth in the United States and Europe, have clouded demand prospects for metals.

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“However, (the darkening economic outlook) will also increase the market’s expectations that the Fed will slow down the pace of interest rate hikes in the future,” Huatai Futures analysts said in a note.

“The likelihood of sustained dollar strength also diminishes accordingly.”

Minutes of the Fed’s Dec. 13-14 policy meeting, due at 1900 GMT, could provide clues on its future interest rate moves, analysts said.

In China, analysts said metal prices were likely to remain volatile in the near term as the Spring Festival holidays later this month is expected to curb demand, but the anticipation of more economic stimulus from Beijing could provide support.

Among other metals, LME aluminum was up 0.1% at $2,313 a tonne, zinc dipped 1.2% to $2,966.50, lead declined 0.6% to $2,265.50, and tin dropped 0.4% to $25,385.

In Shanghai, aluminum dropped 2.5% to 17,865 yuan a tonne, zinc shed 1.4% to 23,105 yuan, tin slipped 0.3% to 207,610 yuan, and lead fell 0.9% to 15,765 yuan.

Shanghai nickel climbed 1% to 229,420 yuan a tonne following LME nickel’s strong overnight gains on expectations that a large short position maturing in January would have to be bought back, according to traders.

For the top stories in metals and other news, click or ($1 = 6.8880 yuan) (Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee, Rashmi Aich and Savio D’Souza)


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