Copper subdued on Fed watch, China demand concerns

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Copper prices edged lower in Asian trading on Tuesday, as the overall mood was subdued ahead of interest rate decisions by central banks this week, with the U.S. Federal Reserve set to begin its two-day policy meeting later in the day.

Concerns that faltering post-pandemic economic rebound in China, the world’s top metals consumer, could dampen demand and rising inventories in exchange warehouses are also dragging copper prices lower.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.2% at $8,342 per metric ton, as of 0210 GMT, after a 0.6% decline in the previous session.

The most-traded October copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange shed 0.6% to 68,930 yuan per ton, extending losses following a 0.4% drop on Monday.

“Markets were quiet as investors wait for the FOMC meeting later this week,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

“While the Fed is expected to keep rates on hold, strong economic data is raising the prospect of rates remaining high for the foreseeable future.”
Traders were also keeping an eye on the depreciation pressure on China’s yuan against the U.S. dollar, which could also affect Chinese demand for industrial metals. The pressure is temporary, Chinese state media said on Tuesday, as the yuan has fallen more than 5% on the greenback year-to-date.

LME aluminium gained 0.1% to $2,217 per ton, zinc shed 0.9% to $2,518, nickel slipped 0.1% to $19,850, while lead edged down 0.2% to $2,243.50. Tin slumped 1.7% to $25,750.

In Shanghai, aluminium gained 0.8% to 19,315 yuan a ton, zinc was little changed at 21,785 yuan, lead added 0.4% to 17,235 yuan, nickel dipped 0.3% to 161,070 yuan, while tin fell 0.8% to 218,390 yuan.

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