LONDON — Copper prices slipped on Wednesday after weak Chinese trade data fueled worries about demand from the world’s top metals consumer, overshadowing the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the country.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange dropped 0.6% to $8,370 a tonne in official open-outcry trading after rising by 0.4% on Tuesday.
Weighing on the market was data showing China’s exports and imports in November shrank at their steepest pace in at least 2-1/2 years.
LME copper has gained about 12% since the beginning of November, largely on hopes for a recovery of demand in China due to easing of coronavirus restrictions and measures to support the troubled property sector.
“From our perspective, we’re not expecting a sudden turnaround in China’s property market in the near-term,” said Edward Gardner, commodities economist at Capital Economics.
“We think perhaps this rally was a bit overdone and the fall in prices today is quite justified, coupled with the fact that global manufacturing and services PMIs are in contractionary territory as of November, in particular the new orders component.”
The most-traded January copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange lost 0.7% to 65,440 yuan ($9,378.18) a tonne.
Cushioning losses was news about China announcing the most sweeping changes to its tough anti-COVID regime since the pandemic began three years ago.
Also providing some support was a weaker dollar index , making commodities priced in the U.S. currency cheaper for buyers using other currencies.
LME zinc dropped 1.4% in official activity to $3,112 a tonne despite news that Nyrstar’s Auby zinc smelter in northern France was placed on care and maintenance until further notice.
Among other metals, LME aluminum shed 1.3% to $2,476.50 a tonne, nickel eased 1.3% to $28,900, tin slid 2.2% to $24,275, but lead edged up 0.1% to $2,222.
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