Copper prices fall on stronger US dollar

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Copper prices fell on Friday as reduced bets for an early Federal Reserve interest rate cut lifted the dollar.

Copper for delivery in March retreated on the Comex market in New York, touching $3.83 per pound ($8,668 per tonne), down 0.3% compared to Thursday’s closing.

[Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices]

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell 0.4% to $8,432.5 per metric ton by 1109 GMT, after hitting its lowest since Dec. 13 of $8,416.

Data on Thursday showed that US weekly jobless claims fell more than expected last week, setting the dollar on track for its steepest weekly rise since May.

“Metals are under pressure on increasing signs that the Fed won’t start cutting rates as soon as expected after US jobs data released this week,” Ewa Manthey at ING said in a note.

“If US rates stay higher for longer, this would lead to a stronger US dollar and weaker investor sentiment, which in turn would translate to weaker metals prices.”

Signs of tightening supply and thin stocks in China are, however, supporting copper.

Russian miner Udokan Copper is assessing damage after a fire at its plant, which was expected to start copper cathode production in 2024. A delay would add to the growing list of supply disruptions in the industry.

With declining growth from mine output, the global refined copper market faces a growing deficit in 2025 to 2027, CITIC Securities said.

(With files from Reuters)