LONDON: Copper prices pushed higher on Thursday on signals of recovering demand in top metals consumer China, supply disruptions and a weaker dollar due to easing concerns about the banking sector.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.4% to $9,035 a tonne at 1000 GMT after earlier falling as much as 0.7%.
China’s top copper smelters agreed on a lower guide price for treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for copper concentrate processing in the second quarter of 2023, sources said.
Spot TC/RCs have also declined, indicating lower availability of concentrate – partially treated ore which smelters process to make refined copper.
“That tells you that either smelter demand is very strong, reflecting decent demand downstream, or the mine side is disappointing,” said Dan Smith, head of research at Amalgamated Metal Trading.
“We know that the Chinese smelters are ramping up because they’re able to sell that stuff, so something’s pretty tight in the supply chain.”
Copper dips as anxiety over banking turmoil lingers 39
Receding fears of a full-blown banking crisis have revived overall investor risk appetite this week, weighing on the dollar index, making commodities priced in the U.S. currency less expensive for buyers using other currencies.
Top metals consumer China’s factory activity likely grew at a slower pace in March, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday, suggesting the economic recovery is uneven in the light of weak global demand and a property slump.
“Nevertheless, there are growing expectations that the copper market will tighten as the headwinds ease. This could be exacerbated by the low level of inventories,” ANZ strategists said in a note.
LME aluminium rose 0.4% to $2,390 a tonne, nickel edged up 0.1% to $23,760, lead gained 0.4% to $2,146.50 and tin climbed 0.6% to $25,965, while zinc dipped 0.1% to $2,964.50.