Copper price sinks to 10-month low on recession worries

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The copper price sank to a ten-month low on Thursday as the outlook for demand deteriorated after the US Federal Reserve’s large rate hike fueled worries about recession and data from China indicated weak growth.

Copper for delivery in July touched a low of $4.04 per pound ($8,888 per tonne) Thursday morning on the Comex market in New York, the lowest since August last year.

Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices

Mining stocks also slid, with BHP Group down more than 5% from the previous week, and Freeport-McMoRan down 4%.

“Metals demand is at risk as accelerated monetary policy tightening led by developed economies threatens to hamstring economic growth and trigger a possible recession,” said Tom Mulqueen, an analyst at Amalgamated Metal Trading.

“Soaring inflation also threatens to curb consumer goods spending as the rising cost of living hits disposable income and confidence.”

The Fed hiked interest rates by 75 basis points on Wednesday, the largest increase since 1994, to rein in soaring inflation. The US central bank expects to raise interest rates steadily for the rest of 2022.

Meanwhile, China’s new home prices fell for the second month this year, depressed by still fragile demand as widespread covid-19 curbs dented already weak buyer confidence.

“A China demand rebound from second quarter covid-19 lockdowns could offer some respite, but is vulnerable to the ongoing threat of new outbreaks and restrictions under China’s zero-covid approach,” Mulqueen said.

Low stocks in LME-approved warehouses are providing some support for industrial metals.

Aluminum stocks are at 21-year lows of 411,575 tonnes while copper stocks at 121,000 tonnes are near two-year lows.

(With files from Reuters)