Copper eases as dollar firms on US inflation fears

HANOI: Copper prices fell on Monday and were set for a third straight daily drop in London, as the dollar strengthened on investor concerns over inflation in the United States that could lead to sooner-than-expected policy tightening.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.3% at $9,383.50 a tonne, as of 0528 GMT, while the most-traded August copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended the morning session down 0.7% at 68,440 yuan ($10,591) a tonne.

The dollar’s index against six other major currencies strengthened 0.1% to 91.870, after a softer-than-expected US inflation did little to change investors’ conviction that the Federal Reserve could tighten monetary policy if consumer price pressures continue to intensify.

A stronger dollar makes greenback-priced metals more expensive for holders of other currencies.

“This morning, there is a marked lack of interest in the Asian session with all the drifting lower on thin volumes as yet again the physical buyers shy away from these prices,” Malcolm Freeman, director at Kingdom Futures, said in a note.

Profit growth at China‘s industrial firms slowed again in May as surging raw material prices squeezed margins and weighed on factory activity.

ShFE nickel inventories dropped to a record low of 6,106 tonnes, while LME nickel stockpiles declined to their lowest level since July 2020 at 234,576 tonnes.

LME nickel fell 0.3% to $18,470 a tonne, aluminium declined 0.4% to $2,477 a tonne, while lead was the laggard, shedding 1% to $2,198 a tonne in London and diving 1.8% in Shanghai.

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