Copper wavers near $9 000 after fear-filled week for metals

Aluminum jumped 1.5% but is still heading for a weekly loss.
Image: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Copper steadied and aluminium rose after a turbulent week for metals dominated by growing concerns over the state of the global economy.

While metals markets were calmer Friday, prices have endured a dismal few days on fears about monetary tightening as well as demand from top consumer China. Copper — often seen as an economic bellwether — is heading for its sixth weekly decline in London.

Federal Reserve Chair Jeromy Powell on Thursday pushed back against speculation of more aggressive interest-rate hikes. But weaker global growth remains a key worry across markets, especially with China’s still-uncertain battle to quell Covid-19 outbreaks.

Investors are alert for any fresh moves by China to bolster support for the economy, including a possible interest-rate cut as early as Monday. China will likely report its weakest monthly economic indicators since the outbreak of the pandemic two years ago on Monday.

Copper was little changed at $9 086 a ton by 11:21 a.m Shanghai time and is down about 3.5% this week. It closed at the lowest since October on Thursday. Aluminum jumped 1.5% but is still heading for a weekly loss.

Tin again weakened after plummeting more than 10% at one point on Thursday. Bearish sentiment is sweeping the less-liquid market just as supplies begin to recover from the pandemic.

The metal used in solder and packaging has been dumped by funds on Shanghai Futures Exchange after macro sentiment soured, said Cui Lin, China representative at the International Tin Association. Tin’s outlook largely hinges on the Fed’s next move and the evolution of China’s Covid lockdowns, Cui said.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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