Copper rises amid low inventories, Chile supply risks

Copper rises amid low inventories, Chile supply risks

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Copper prices rose on Thursday as low inventories and another coronavirus death in top producer Chile highlighted supply risks for the red metal.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.3% to $5,884.50 a tonne by 0702 GMT, while aluminum fell 0.5% to $1,568 a tonne, lead advanced 0.3% to $1,767 a tonne and nickel eased 0.3% to $12,515 a tonne.

The Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) was closed for a holiday on Thursday and Friday.

Copper inventories in warehouses tracked by ShFE fell for a sixth straight week to their lowest in more than 17 months in the week ended June 24, while LME on-warrant copper stocks fell to their lowest since Feb. 24 at 116,800 tonnes.

The world’s biggest copper producer, Chilean state miner Codelco, reported the death of a third worker from COVID-19, piling pressure on the industry as unions seek greater protection for employees.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW

“Copper traded flat to higher on Thursday as concerns about supplies intensified amid falling stockpiles,” said commodities broker Anna Stablum of Marex Spectron in a note.

“Still, prices were under pressure as Asian stocks and U.S. equity index futures declined after the International Monetary Fund downgraded its outlook for this and next year,” she said, adding that a stronger dollar also capped gains.

The pandemic had caused wider and deeper damage to economic activity than thought, the IMF said.

A spike in COVID-19 cases in the United States, Australia and elsewhere has raised fears of a second wave as more nations wind back movement curbs.

FUNDAMENTALS

* CHINA COPPER: Domestic refined copper prices on Wednesday hit 48,155 yuan ($6,804.44) a tonne, the highest since Jan. 22, while the premium to import copper into China at bonded warehouses in Yangshan was hovering around a one-month high of $102.5 a tonne.

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($1 = 7.0770 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Richard Pullin

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