Copper price down on bets of big US rate hikes

Copper prices fell on Wednesday, as bets of big US rate hikes following hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials, and a recent batch of weak economic readings from China put the focus back on global economic growth concerns.

Copper for delivery in July fell 1.57% from Tuesday’s settlement price, touching $4.17 per pound ($9,176 per tonne) midday Wednesday on the Comex market in New York.

Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices

The most-active June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange edged 0.1% lower to 71,600 yuan ($10,606.31) a tonne by the midday break.

“There is some selling pressure as China’s economic data has come on the lower side owing to a forced lockdown in Shanghai,” said Jigar Trivedi, a commodities analyst at Mumbai-based broker Anand Rathi Shares.

“Also, the dollar is rebounding after the Fed chair’s statement to continue with rate hikes.”

Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday pledged that the US central bank would ratchet interest rates as high as needed to kill a surge in inflation that he said threatened the foundation of the economy. 

The dollar rose 0.1% against its rivals, making greenback-denominated metals more expensive for buyers using other currencies. 

Chinese economy

China’s new home prices in April fell for the first time month-on-month since December, official data showed, hit by strict covid-19 lockdowns in many cities. 

This comes after data showing China’s economic activity cooled sharply in April as lockdowns took a heavy toll on consumption, industrial production, and employment. 

Offering some respite, China’s decision to ease some covid-19 restrictions fuelled expectations of a recovery in metals demand. 

Shanghai achieved a fourth consecutive day without any new infections in the community, keeping hold of its prized “zero-covid” status and keeping alive hopes for an imminent end to lockdown misery.

(With files from Reuters)

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