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Copper prices retreat as China’s COVID cases fuel demand concerns


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BEIJING — Copper prices lost 1% on Wednesday as a jump in COVID-19 cases in world’s top consumer China fueled demand worries, although global tight supplies provided some support to the red metal.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange edged 1% down to $8,035 a tonne by 0158 GMT, after gaining 1.6% in the previous session.

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The most-traded December copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange advanced 1.1% to 66,040 yuan ($9,109.72) a tonne.

New coronavirus cases surged in Guangzhou and other Chinese cities, official data showed on Tuesday, with the global manufacturing hub becoming China’s latest COVID-19 epicenter and testing the city’s ability to avoid a Shanghai-style lockdown.

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The rising case load and the country’s draconian measures again fueled worries over its economic growth and industrial activities.

China’s passenger vehicle sales showed a yearly increase of 7.2% in October, but the growth failed to meet expectations at the peak season, known as “Golden September and Silver October” for the auto industry.

That said, supply jitters amid low inventories and prolonged production maintenance by Chile’s Codelco, the world’s largest copper miner, weighed on market sentiment.

Copper stocks on the LME touched a fresh seven-month low after 1,475 tonnes of departures from Busan and New Orleans, trimming the total to 83,075 tonnes.

Codelco on Tuesday confirmed to Reuters that it will extend maintenance work at its Chuquicamata smelter to 135 days, from an initially planned 90-day stoppage.

Among other metals, SHFE zinc dipped 0.2% at 23,660 yuan a tonne, aluminum climbed 0.5% to 18,500 yuan a tonne, while nickel rose 1.7% to 193,230 yuan a tonne.

LME aluminum slid 1% to $2,348.50 a tonne, zinc was down 0.9% to $2,904.50 a tonne, and lead declined 0.8% to $2,038.50 a tonne.

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($1 = 7.2494 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)


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