Copper Pressured by Dollar’s Climb

Beckett Bronze produces cast bronze precision-machined parts and continuous cast bars. Castings are manufactured at the East 20th Street plant. The West 23rd Street plant produces finished machined parts and has about 75 machine tools including CNC lathes.

Copper prices fell Wednesday as the U.S. dollar ticked higher, giving up most of their gains from earlier this week.

Front-month contracts for August delivery fell 0.9% to $2.709 a pound at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, halting a three-day streak of increases. The more-active September contract fell 1%.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, rose 0.1%. A stronger dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies, and analysts attributed copper’s decline to currency moves.

The higher dollar prompted some traders to lock in gains from the recent rally, said Edward Meir, a consultant at INTL FCStone, adding that the outlook for metal markets was nonetheless improving.

“The trade picture has started to brighten a little bit,” he said. “Generally the markets are heartened by the fact that there is some progress.”

Investor optimism about continuing North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations helped industrial metals earlier this week after the U.S. and Mexico agreed to a deal. Canada was also attempting to hurry along an amended deal.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland arrived in Washington on Tuesday to meet with Trump administration counterparts in an attempt to accelerate negotiations between the two neighboring countries.

One of the factors driving copper investors’ cautious optimism has been a sustained fall in on-warrant inventories on the London Metal Exchange, with canceled warrants this week hitting a 12-month high.

While Chinese economic figures have in recent months pointed to increased pressure on growth from Beijing’s trade dispute with the U.S., local Shanghai premiums have recently risen. Analysts pointed to resilient demand in China, which consumes around half of the world’s copper.

Investors may use Chinese purchasing managers index numbers due out Friday to inform their next moves, strategists at ING said in a note.

Gold prices were also lower, with front-month August contracts falling 0.2% to $1,204.50 a troy ounce as the stronger dollar weighed on that market. The more-active October contract fell too.

Write to David Hodari at and Benjamin Parkin at

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