Copper prices extended their losses on Tuesday due to fears over prolonged high interest rates and rising inventories. The three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 1% at $8,278 per metric ton by (06:00 ET) 10:00 GMT, following a 0.6% decline in the previous session.
The U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, scheduled for later this week, is causing concern in financial markets. While the Fed is not expected to increase rates this week, the prospect of maintaining them at high levels to combat inflation has led to market uncertainty. Nitesh Shah, a commodity strategist at WisdomTree, stated that higher rates are expected for longer due to supportive economic data and persisting inflation concerns.
In addition to interest rate concerns, the sluggish economic growth in China and investor worries about the country's debt-laden property sector are also impacting copper prices. The most traded October copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.8% to CNY 68,790 ($9,426.52) per ton, extending losses after a 0.4% drop on Monday.
Traders are also monitoring the depreciation pressure on China’s yuan against the U.S. dollar which could affect Chinese demand for dollar-priced industrial metals. According to Chinese state media, this pressure is temporary as the yuan has fallen more than 5% on the greenback year-to-date.
Inventory concerns are another factor pulling down copper prices. LME copper stocks have surged by 175% since mid-July to 149,600 metric tons, reaching their highest level since May 2022. This rise in supply amidst weak demand highlights continued inventory build-up.
Other metals also experienced price declines on Tuesday. LME aluminum slid 0.4% to $2,211 per ton, zinc declined 2% to $2,494, lead eased 1.4% to $2,216.50, nickel shed 1% to $19,670, and tin slumped 1.8% to $25,700.
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