Copper rebounds but virus panic puts it on track for worst week since 2011

Beckett Bronze Company was incorporated May 21, 1913 as the Delaware Brass and Aluminum Company by a group of stockholders which included John Beckett, a molder, and his son, Charles. Charles Beckett eventually bought out the other stockholders, including his father, and managed the company until his death in 1960.

LONDON — Copper rebounded on Friday as central banks stepped up stimulus to protect the global economy from the impact of the coronavirus but the metal remained on track for its biggest weekly loss in eight years.

The Bank of England promised 200 billion pounds ($235.7 billion) of bond purchases and cut its key interest rate for the second time in a little more than a week after stimulus by the European Central Bank and others around the world.

Top metals consumer China unexpectedly left its own key lending rate unchanged, but is set to unleash trillions of yuan of stimulus to revive an economy expected to shrink for the first time in decades, policy sources said.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) gained 0.7% to $4,859 a tonne by 1142 GMT. The metal used in power and construction was headed for a weekly drop of about 10%, its biggest decline since September 2011.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” ING senior commodities strategist Wenyu Yao said, adding that metal supplies could be affected by mining countries implementing tighter measures around travel and trade.

INVENTORIES: Copper inventories in China fell this week for the first time since Jan. 10, exchange data showed, as downstream metal consumers hit by the coronavirus come closer to restoring normal operations.

Stocks of copper in warehouses tracked by the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.7% after reaching their highest in nearly four years at 377,247 tonnes last week.

In LME-approved warehouse, meanwhile, copper stocks eased by 3,150 tonnes to 227,875 tonnes.

RECESSION LOOMS: The global economy is already in a recession as the hit to economic activity from the coronavirus pandemic has become more widespread, a Reuters poll showed.

PEAK: Broker Marex Spectron’s index measuring media coverage of the virus appears to have peaked.

“No one knows the full economic impact of the current situation and no one can accurately forecast what the situation will be a month from now,” the broker’s Guy Wolf said.

“But the balance of risks have now shifted to the upside.”

MINERS: Mining companies are feeling the pinch, with some announcing reductions in production, leading analysts to reevaluate market balances for the year.

Anglo American on Friday said it would reschedule work at mines in countries such as Chile to help to contain the spread of coronavirus but added that there had been no material disruption on production.

OTHER METALS: LME aluminum fell 0.7% to $1,619 a tonne, zinc added 2.6% to $1,895, lead was up 3% at $1,676 and nickel gained 2.5% to 11,525.

Tin, meanwhile, rose 1.8% to $14,150 after touching its lowest since July 2009 at $12,715. ($1 = 0.8486 pounds)

(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala Additional reporting Tom Daly and Pratima Desai Editing by David Goodman)

Over 100 Years Experience – Manufacturers of Bronze Bearings, Bushings, and Continuous Cast Bars Since 1913