COPPER PRICES MAINTAIN HIGH

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File Photo: Copper processing

BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes

@SunZambian

COPPER is selling at US$10,104 a tonne as a softer dollar and worries about a strike in Chile spurred purchases.

Plans, however, by top consumer China to manage the supply, demand and prices of commodities capped gains.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange traded up one percent at US$10,104 a tonne in official rings, says Access Bank Zambia in its daily market update.

The update however indicated that prices of the metal used widely in power and construction were down six percent since hit-ting a record US$10,747.50 a tonne earlier in May.

The red metal was healing from its poor performance last Wednesday after its prices fell as rising inflation pushed investors into a risk-off sentiment, offsetting the impact of potential supply disrup-tions in the top producing region of South America. Still on commodities, oil prices were on course for a third day of losses last Thursday after diplomats said progress was made towards a deal to lift sanctions on Iran, which could boost crude supply. Retracing some earlier losses, Brent crude was down 39 cents, or 0.5 per-cent, at US$66.27 a barrel.West Texas Intermedi-ate United States lost 23 cents, or 0.3 percent, to US$63.13 a barrel.

Both contracts fell around three percent in the previous session.On the foreign exchange market, the Kwacha with supply still in-adequate made a further movement to the down-side against the U.S dollar.

It ended the day trading at K22.45 / K22.50.The local currency was up from Thursday’s closing level of K22.40 / K22.49. Trading activity was largely flat during the session, with little or no inflows being seen from sellers – a situation that seems to characterise the market recently.

The dollar lost ground last Thursday, hovering just above a multi-month low following last Wednesday’s bounce prompted by the release of United States Federal Reserve meeting minutes.

In those minutes, from the Fed’s most recent monetary policy meeting, several policymakers said a discussion about reducing the pace of asset purchases would be appropriate “at some point” if the United States economic recovery continues to gain momentum.

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