Copper rises as US dollar comes off highs

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.

By AAP15 hours ago

Copper and most other industrial metals inched higher on Friday, boosted by a retreat in the US dollar and hopes that a meeting between the United States and China could help ease damaging trade tensions.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange ended 0.6 per cent higher at $US6,400 a tonne, although it finished the week more than one per cent lower.

The metal used in power and construction hit its lowest since March 28 on Thursday on a strong US dollar and worries over the outlook for the global economy.

“The (US) dollar has been pretty strong lately which has been quite a drag, and that has now reversed a bit,” Capital Economics analyst Ross Strachan said, adding that the market generally is “fairly quiet”.

He said metals markets were mostly pricing in a resolution to a long-standing trade conflict between China and the United States as the world’s two largest economies prepare for talks.

The US dollar index eased versus a basket of six major currencies on Friday after weak US inflation data eclipsed upbeat first-quarter figures.

A weaker greenback makes US-dollar-denominated metals cheaper for buyers with other currencies.

“We believe prices will witness limited upside in the coming weeks unless a US-China trade deal is finally struck, as concerns over global growth continue,” Fitch Solutions said in a report.

Total copper inventories in LME-approved warehouses have jumped more than 70 per cent since mid-March to 195,900 tonnes.

Aluminium inventories in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell to the lowest since October 2017 at 638,030 tonnes, while copper stocks hit a two-month low of 219,679 tonnes.

The premium of cash zinc over the three-month contract has been steadily rising this year and reached about $US120 on Friday, showing low availability of supplies in LME-approved warehouses.

Goldman Sachs said it expects industrial metals demand to rise on easing measures, adding that it was clear that China had “taken the foot off the accelerator” to a degree.

China National Machinery Industry Co, known as Sinomach, said its subsidiary had agreed a $US74.38 million contract to build a 80,000 tonne-per-year ferronickel plant in Indonesia.

Aluminium was the sole decliner, ending one per cent lower at $US1,837 per tonne, while zinc rose one per cent to $US2,76871 and lead gained one per cent to $US1,952 a tonne.

Tin finished 0.5 per cent higher at $US19,925, and nickel was up 0.9 per cent at $US12,440 a tonne in electronic trading.

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