METALS-Copper holds steady amid recession risks, China demand uncertainty

Credit: REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Recasts, adds comments, updates prices

BEIJING, Dec 23 (Reuters) - London copper steadied on Friday as investors worries around a global recession and demand uncertainty in top consumer China dragged prices.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 was unchanged at $8,312 a tonne by 0404 GMT, compared with $8,266.50 a tonne, its closing price of the previous week.

While a series of policy measures and hopes of better industrial activities due to easing in China's COVID policies supported prices, a huge spike in infections in the country have equally weighed on the metals market.

On Friday, the country's central bank made its biggest weekly liquidity injection into the banking system in nearly two months to counteract the year-end rush for cash.

Against that backdrop, however, the country continues to suffer from the COVID-19 situation as it scrambles with widespreading infections that have resulted in slower logistics and lower operation rates in some producing regions.

Meanwhile, stronger-than-expected U.S. job and GDP data on Thursday pointed to labour market strength that could keep the Federal Reserve hawkish for longer, sending the dollar higher.

The market's focus is also on U.S. economic data due later in the for more clues on interest rate rises by the Fed.

The most-traded January copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SCFcv1 slid 0.8% to 65,450 yuan ($9,363.11) a tonne.

"Despite the optimism from policy support, spot trading remains light amid soft demand," a Chinese copper trader said.

The Yangshan premium SMM-CUYP-CN, which reflects demand for imported copper into China, fell 73.8% from a multi-year high of $152.50 a tonne hit in October to $40 a tonne on Dec.22.

CITIC Futures forecast a market surplus of 420,000 tonnes next year, reversing from a tight market this year.

Meanwhile, a major fire broke out at Chile's Ventanas port near a refinery and smelter belonging to state-run miner Coldeco, but the company said on Thursday that operations have not been affected by the blaze.

Among other metals, LME aluminium CMAL3 slipped 0.2% to $2,402.50 a tonne, zinc CMZN3 was down 0.4% to $2,936.50, lead CMPB3 climbed 0.5% to $2,227.50, while tin CMSN3 edged 0.1% up to $23,945.

UK-based Global Commodities Holdings (GCH) said on Thursday it would launch a spot trading platform for physically delivered nickel in the first quarter of 2023.

SHFE aluminium SAFcv1 eased 0.2% at 18,650 yuan a tonne, zinc SZNcv1 lost 1.3% to 23,150 yuan and nickel SNIcv1 retreated by 0.9% to 217,600 yuan, while tin SSNcv1 was up 0.3% at 196,610 yuan.

For the top stories in metals and other news, click TOP/MTL or MET/L

($1 = 6.9902 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; editing by Uttaresh.V)


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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