Copper price steadies after biggest decline in almost two years

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Copper steadied following the biggest drop in almost two years, as Chinese factories balked at paying record prices and Federal Reserve officials made hawkish comments on inflation.

The metal surged to an all-time high above $11,000 a ton on Monday, as bullish bets put pressure on holders of short positions to close out their trades. That was followed by a slump of 4.1% on Wednesday, the most since July 2022, amid profit-taking and signs of weaker demand in China.

Factories in the world’s biggest metals consumer are struggling to pass on the surging costs of copper to clients making products ranging from air-conditioners to home electronics.

In the US, minutes from the May Federal Open Market Committee meeting showed concern over “disappointing” price increases. The central bank may hold rates higher for longer “should inflation not show signs of moving sustainably toward” its 2% target. That could put a dampener on global economic growth.

The record rally for copper was “showing signs of easing,” Jinrui Futures Co. said in a note. Still, China’s vow to step up stimulus along with expectations supplies will tighten may support elevated prices in the near term, the firm said.

Copper was little changed at $10,411 a ton on the London Metal Exchange as of 3:16 p.m. local time. Aluminum was 0.9% lower.

Column: Copper squeezed in the United States but China has plenty


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