LONDON (Reuters) – Copper prices fell sharply on Wednesday after data showed manufacturing activity slowed in August in parts of Europe and Asia, with manufacturing in China contracting for the first time in nearly a year and a half.
* At 1601 GMT, three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 1.9% to $9339.50 a ton.
* However, prices are still accumulating 20% this year after rising 26% in 2020, and analysts expect demand for the metal to rise as the world shifts from fossil fuels to electricity.
* Copper hit a record high of $10,747.50 in May and fell to a 4-month low of $8,740 in mid-August.
Fundamentals have improved in recent weeks, Citi analyst Oliver Nugent said, pointing to weaker stocks, rising Chinese import premiums, waning speculative positioning and expectations of more economic stimulus.
* “We basically think we’re at the right levels,” he said. We expect copper to exceed $9,000 on average next year.”
* Manufacturing activity lost momentum in August in most of Asia and Europe, but accelerated in the United States and Canada.
* China’s State Reserve Administration said it has released 150,000 tons of copper, aluminum and zinc into the market, completing the third round of metal auctions designed to keep prices in check.
(Additional reporting by Peter Hobson; Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi. Edited in Spanish by Janis Huambachano)
“Beeraholic. Friend of animals everywhere. Evil web scholar. Zombie maven.”