London copper set for first monthly drop since October

London copper set for first monthly drop since October

London copper prices were headed for their first monthly drop in four on Tuesday, weighed down by a firmer U.S. dollar and as demand from top consumer China remained subdued.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 rose 0.1% to $8,812.50 a tonne by 0839 GMT, but the contract was down 4.5% on a monthly basis, its first decline since October.

The most-traded April copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SCFcv1 closed up 0.5% at 69,050 yuan ($9,950.57) a tonne, but was down for the month.

Copper prices rose strongly in January as hopes grew for a strong consumption recovery from China, which accounts for half of global copper demand, after the country lifted strict pandemic restrictions.

However, copper demand in China remained weak in February, weighing on the prices, while a stronger dollar also made the greenback-priced metal more expensive to holders of other currencies.

Analysts expect the Chinese economy to recover strongly from as early as March, as the government is likely to roll out more stimulus at the National People’s Congress.

Copper inventories buildup in China slowed last week. The weekly increase in SHFE copper stockpiles by Friday was the slowest so far this year. CU-STX-SGH

Yangshan copper premium SMM-CUYP-CN, which reflects demand to import copper into China, rose to $26.50 a tonne on Monday, its highest since Feb. 1.

“The downstream procurement is gradually recovering, and the market needs to pay attention to when the accumulation of warehouse inventories will end,” Huatai Futures said in a report.

LME aluminium CMAl3 fell 0.4% to $2,354 a tonne, zinc CMZN3 shed 0.8% to $2,965 a tonne, nickel CMNI3 decreased 0.6% to $25,355 a tonne, tin CMSN3 was down 1% at $25,230 a tonne and lead CMPB3 declined 1.3% to $2,084 a tonne.

SHFE aluminium SAFcv1 increased 0.2% to 18,460 yuan a tonne, nickel SNIcv1 was up 0.7% at 197,930 yuan a tonne and zinc SZNcv1 advanced 0.2% to 23,155 yuan a tonne, while tin CMSN3 fell 0.3% to 209,230 yuan a tonne.

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