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LME copper eases as traders pause after five-day rally

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London copper prices inched lower on Thursday, as traders took a breather following a five-session rally that took prices above $9,000 a tonne for the first time since June.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.3% to $9,102 a tonne by 0729 GMT, while the most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange advanced 1.8% to 68,660 yuan ($10,152.00) a tonne.

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A weaker dollar and China’s slew of policy support for the economy — as it reopened borders and removed COVID-19 restrictions — have fueled optimism for improving metals demand from its top consuming market.

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However, physical demand remained subdued in the traditionally off-peak season and amid a looming global economic downturn. Prospects of further rate hikes and a firm dollar also pressured metals prices.

Yangshan copper premium fell to $32.50 a tonne, its lowest since April 2022, indicating weakening demand to import copper into China.

“Due to the impact of the off-season demand, downstream purchases are still relatively light,” said Huatai Futures in a report.

However, the weakening dollar and Chinese property market bottoming out will likely support copper prices.

LME aluminum declined 1.1% to $2,482 a tonne, lead declined 1% to $2,171 a tonne, zinc eased 0.9% to $3,179.50 a tonne, while tin rose 0.7% to $27,010 a tonne.

SHFE nickel fell 1.9% to 203,530 yuan a tonne, lead declined 0.7% to 15,370 yuan a tonne, while tin rose 3.2% to 215,620 yuan a tonne, zinc advanced 0.3% to 23,785 yuan a tonne.

Britain’s financial watchdog is blocking the restart of LME nickel trade in Asian hours due to doubts about the exchange’s ability to run an orderly market in that time zone, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

For the top stories in metals and other news, click or ($1 = 6.7632 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; editing by Uttaresh.V and Rashmi Aich)

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