LONDON: Copper prices touched a seven-month high on Thursday after US consumer prices unexpectedly fell, brushing aside worries by some investors that recent gains had been overdone amid lacklustre physical demand.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.6% at $9,178 a tonne at 1700 GMT.
It earlier hit a high of $9,240, the strongest since June 16, after the US inflation data fuelled speculation that central bankers can ease up on interest rate hikes.
The fresh peak occurred after five straight sessions of a rally that took prices up more than 10%.
US Comex copper futures rose 0.4% to $4.19 a lb.
Traders bet on Thursday that easing inflation will allow the Federal Reserve to deliver just a quarter-point rise in interest rates at its next meeting.
That helped push the dollar index lower, making commodities priced in the US currency cheaper for buyers using other currencies.
China’s pledges of more policy support for the economy, after it reopened borders and removed COVID-19 restrictions, have fuelled optimism over improving metals demand from the world’s top consuming market.
“Prices have simply gone too fast and too far in the past several days due to this China reopening euphoria. I really struggle to see this translating into increasing metals demand,” said analyst Carsten Menke at Julius Baer in Zurich.
Most Chinese manufacturers that use copper remained open during COVID restrictions, while new property support measures are limited and will only spur a moderate rise in construction activity, he added.
“The longer-term prospects for copper are really positive, but that’s a multi-year or maybe even a multi-decade story. It’s not going to play out this year,” Menke said.
The Yangshan copper premium fell to $32.50 a tonne, its lowest since April 2022, indicating weakening demand to import copper into China.
LME aluminium climbed 1.4% to $2,545.50 a tonne, lead added 0.4% to $2,200, zinc advanced 1.2% to $3,245, tin rose 2.3% to $27,440 and nickel gained 0.6% to $27,200.