Off The Wire
Copper eases on China decision to sell reserves
HANOI, June 16 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Wednesday, weighed down by fears of a rise in supplies on news that top consumer China would release its national reserves of the metal to stabilise prices.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange slipped 0.3% to $9,540 a tonne by 0509 GMT, while the most-traded July copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange declined 1.7% to 69,140 yuan ($10,802.62) a tonne.
China will release its national reserves of copper, aluminium and zinc in batches in the near term to nonferrous processing and manufacturing firms via public bidding, the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said without giving a specific number for each metal.
Last month, copper prices hit record highs on both the LME and ShFE, while ShFE aluminium scaled its highest since 2010 and ShFE zinc jumped to a level unseen since 2007.
However, a metals trader said the news was unlikely to hit prices too much as it had already been priced in.
Also pressuring prices were fears of U.S. policy tightening amid rising inflation that could see fund outflows from the commodity market. Investors are now awaiting the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting due later in the day.
* LME nickel fell 1.3% to $17,515 a tonne, tin shed 1.1% to $31,125 a tonne, ShFE nickel dropped to a near three-week low of 128,510 yuan a tonne and ShFE aluminium declined 0.9% to 18,770 yuan a tonne.
* LME copper inventories MCUSTX-TOTAL rose to their highest since April 29 at 140,625 tonnes, while ShFE copper stocks CU-STX-SGH were last at 180,967 tonnes, their lowest since March 12.
* Yangshan copper premium SMM-CUYP-CN fell to $21 a tonne, its lowest since February 2016 and 81% lower than May 2020, indicating weak demand for imported metal into top consumer China.
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$1 = 6.4003 yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu