Copper prices fell to their lowest in more than two weeks on Monday as a firm dollar and demand worries weighed on sentiment.
Copper for delivery in September fell 1.4% from Friday’s settlement price, touching $4.285 per pound ($9,427 per tonne) on the Comex market in New York.
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China’s January-to-July copper import volumes dropped by more than a tenth compared with the first seven months of 2020.
The biggest copper buyer in the world bought 3.219 million tonnes of unwrought copper and copper products from January to July, down 10.6% compared with the same period in 2020.
“The dollar is one factor behind the selling and the other is Chinese demand,” one copper trader told Reuters, adding that the rising risks of a strike at the Escondida mine in Chile helped to contain losses.
Refined copper production by China’s major smelters was little changed in July from the previous month, state-backed research house Antaike said on Monday.
The 22 smelters surveyed by Antaike churned out 747,200 tonnes of copper cathodes last month, up slightly from 745,700 tonnes in June and up 7.7% year-on-year.
China’s factory activity expanded in July at the slowest pace in 17 months, with the official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) easing to 50.4 from 50.9 in June, remaining above the 50-point level that separates growth from contraction.
“Industrial metals are increasingly feeling the weight of a synchronized slowing in US and Chinese growth,” TD Securities analysts led by Bart Melek said in a note.
(With files from Reuters)