Copper prices rose on Friday as a union at the world’s biggest copper mine, Chile’s Escondida, told workers to prepare for a strike, but gains were limited by a strengthening of the dollar after solid U.S. payrolls data.
A stronger dollar makes metals costlier for buyers with other currencies.
Benchmark copper was up 0.2% at $9,512 a tonne at 1432 GMT but still down more than 2% this week amid concerns that demand in top consumer China will weaken.
“Dr. Copper is supposed to give a good reading of how the economy is doing, and I think we are in limbo phase right now,” said WisdomTree analyst Nitesh Shah.
“Economic growth is back but there’s some doubt with the Delta variant (of the coronavirus).”
Used in power and construction, copper has gained more than 20% this year and touched a record high of $10,747.50 in May.
Shah said prices would be supported over the longer term by demand for infrastructure and underinvestment in new mines.
(By Peter Hobson and Mai Nguyen; Editing by David Goodman and Alistair Bell)