Copper has edged lower to mark the metal’s third weekly fall, partly in response to the US dollar, which hit an eight-month high, and also worries about China’s demand, while zinc, lead and tin posted weekly gains.
London Metal Exchange copper closed down 0.4 per cent at $US4,635 a tonne, not far off its lowest in a month reached last week, on concerns over the impact of steps by China to douse its hot housing market, which drives demand for copper to produce white goods and power.
“There will probably be weaker imports of copper into China going forward due to the restrictions on the real estate sector,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.
“The strength of the US dollar and its impact on commodity prices should not be underestimated … and I would not be surprised to see that weakness in copper continuing.”
Average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities rose 11.2 per cent in September from a year earlier.
There were some glimmers of hope for a pick up in demand during the seasonally stronger fourth quarter from higher China copper premiums, which rose by $US5 to $US70 a tonne, the highest since March.
Premiums for refined zinc in China bonded zones also rose by $US5 to $US120 a tonne, the highest since May.
Traders said they were holding onto stock in hopes of higher premiums, ahead of fourth quarter restocking by galvanisers and given dwindling mine supply.
Three-month zinc prices on the LME did not trade at close but were bid down 1.1 per cent at $US2,261 a tonne. They were up around 0.5 per cent on the week. The metal has gained 41 per cent this year so far, on reduced supply.
Standard Chartered more than doubled its 2016 forecast zinc deficit to 464,000 tonnes, driven by a shortfall of mine supply within China.
LME aluminium climbed from one-month lows, closing up 0.8 per cent at $US1,625 a tonne, but fell 2.9 per cent on the week,its biggest weekly drop since early September, as China producers ramped up supply.
Daily average primary aluminium output hit a record in September, driven by buoyant output in top producer China, while exports of semi-finished products hit their highest since last November, undermining global prices.