Copper prices fall on lingering global slowdown worries

05/18/2022 | 03:25am

May 18 (Reuters) - Copper prices slipped on Wednesday, as bets of big U.S. rate hikes following hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials, and a recent batch of weak economic readings from China put focus back on global economic growth concerns.

Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 1.1% at $9,263 a tonne, as of 0713 GMT, after hitting a more than one-week high of $9,434 on Tuesday.

The most-active June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended daytime trading down 0.4% at 71,340 yuan ($10,574.69).

"There is some selling pressure as China's economic data has come on the lower side owing to a forced lockdown in Shanghai," said Jigar Trivedi, a commodities analyst at Mumbai-based broker Anand Rathi Shares.

"Also, the dollar is rebounding after the Fed chair's statement to continue with rate hikes."

Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday pledged that the U.S. central bank would ratchet interest rates as high as needed to kill a surge in inflation that he said threatened the foundation of the economy.

The dollar rose 0.3% against its rivals, making greenback-denominated metals more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

DATA: China's new home prices in April fell for the first time month-on-month since December, official data showed, hit by strict COVID-19 lockdowns in many cities.

This comes after data showing China's economic activity cooled sharply in April as lockdowns took a heavy toll on consumption, industrial production and employment.

Offering some respite, China's decision to ease some COVID-19 restrictions fuelled expectations of a recovery in metals demand.

COVID: Shanghai achieved a fourth consecutive day without any new infections in the community, keeping hold of its prized "zero COVID" status and keeping alive hopes for an imminent end to lockdown misery.

PRICES: LME aluminium fell 0.4% to $2,880 a tonne, zinc slipped 1.4% to $3,612, nickel eased 0.2% to $26,365, lead fell 0.7% to $2,087.50 and tin dipped 1.7% to $33,495.

Shanghai aluminium eased 0.4%, zinc slipped 1.2%, nickel dropped 1.7%, lead fell 0.9%, while tin slumped 3.9%.

($1 = 6.7507 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Jason Neely)

© Reuters 2022
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