Altonorte copper smelter, Chile. Image from Glencore.
The copper price fell on Friday as demand in China remained weak.
Copper for delivery in May on the Comex market in New York touched $3.96 per pound ($8,712 per tonne), down 2.2% compared to Thursday’s closing.
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In China, copper inventories continued to increase — albeit at a slower pace than in recent weeks — and import premiums fell again, signaling lackluster demand.
“The frustrating thing for those investors is that they’ve parked their money in copper and the fundamentals haven’t actually changed much,” said Liberum strategist Tom Price.
The dollar also reached a seven-week high, making metals costlier for buyers with other currencies.
Yangshan premiums paid to import copper into China have plunged to $22.50 a tonne from $144.50 in early November.
“What that tells you is that copper consumers (in China) are waiting for prices to fall back before they reengage,” Price said.
He said fundamentals justified a price around $7,000 a tonne but that copper may not fall that low.
(With files from Reuters)