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Copper slides on China’s weak economic data, fresh COVID cases

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BEIJING — Copper prices slid on Wednesday after China’s latest economic data and a jump in COVID-19 cases fueled worries about demand in the world’s top consumer of the metal, although tight global supplies provided some support.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange nudged 0.5% down to $8,076 a tonne by 0816 GMT.

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The most-traded December copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange advanced 1.9% to 66,580 yuan($9,193.59) a tonne.

China’s factory gate prices for October dropped for the first time since December 2020, and consumer inflation moderated.

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Rising COVID-19 cases could again slow down industrial activities and, in turn, weigh on demand for copper, widely used in electrical, automotive and construction sectors.

October passenger vehicle sales in China, the world’s largest vehicle market, climbed on-year but the growth failed to meet expectations at the peak season, known as “Golden September and Silver October” for the auto industry.

“Some ups and downs around current price levels are expected as economic pressure limits the upward potential, while tight supplies in the physical market should keep the market from any sharp losses,” a China-based futures trader said.

Copper stocks on the LME touched a fresh seven-month low after 1,475 tonnes of departures from Busan and New Orleans, trimming the total to 83,075 tonnes on Tuesday.

Market focus is now on U.S. inflation data and the U.S. midterm election results that could signify a power shift in Washington.

SHFE zinc climbed 0.6% at 23,850 yuan a tonne, aluminum rose 1.3% to 18,650 yuan a tonne, and nickel was up 1.6% to 192,980 yuan a tonne.

LME aluminum dipped 0.2% to $2,367 a tonne, zinc was down 0.5% to $2,916 a tonne, and lead edged 1% down to $2,033.50 a tonne.

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($1 = 7.2420 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Rashmi Aich)

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