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Copper price down as growth outlook deteriorates

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Copper prices fell on Tuesday as worries about demand in China and elsewhere due to a slowdown in growth were reinforced by rising inventories, while a lower US dollar provided some support.

Copper fell 1.6% to $3.29 ($7,062) a tonne on the Comex market in New York.

Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices

“Individual metals aren’t really being driven by their own fundamentals, macro factors are driving metals at the moment,” said Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics.

“The growth outlook has deteriorated … prices could fall a little further, there is momentum there, but they will stabilise fairly shortly at these lower levels.”

Japanese Bank Nomura said 41 Chinese cities were currently implementing full or partial lockdowns or some kind of district-based control measures, affecting 22.8% of the country’s gross domestic product.

“China lockdowns aren’t over yet, and neither are the headwinds to demand,” a copper trader said. “More interest rate rises are expected … I can’t see many positives at this stage. The dollar is softer today, but that could change quickly.”

China accounts for about half of global copper consumption, estimated at around 25 million tonnes this year.

Chinese regulators on Sunday urged banks to extend loans to qualified real estate projects and meet developers financing needs where reasonable, in their latest efforts to ease concerns triggered by a widening mortgage-payment boycott on unfinished houses.

A growing number of home buyers across China threatened to stop making mortgage payments for stalled property projects, aggravating a real-estate crisis that has already hit the economy.

Stocks of copper in LME registered warehouses rose from 5,925 tonnes to 136,200 tonnes, up 20% since June 23.

Receding worries about copper availability on the LME market have seen the premium for the cash over the three-month contract turn into a discount which was last at $15 a tonne.

(With files from Bloomberg and Reuters)