METALS-Copper slips on Fed tapering fears, China's 10-year plan

Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:23pm EST

* Dollar gains against basket of currencies

* China pledges to let markets play decisive role in economy

* Dallas Fed president says stimulus can't go on forever

By Harpreet Bhal and Maytaal Angel

LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Copper slid on Tuesday as the dollar gained on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will curb stimulus measures sooner than previously expected and as investors took little comfort from China's 10-year economic plan.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange ended at $7,120 a tonne, down 0.74 percent from a close of $7,173 on Monday.

The dollar rose against a basket of currencies on growing expectations the Fed will soon scale back monetary stimulus following above-forecast U.S. jobs data last week.

Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said in an interview with CNBC cable television that the Federal Reserve's monetary stimulus program cannot continue forever.

"The market is still viewing the Fed as possibly wanting to taper stimulus sooner rather than later, and the bet is now on whether the Fed will move in December after consensus-beating economic data," Robin Bhar, an analyst at Societe Generale, said.

"This is bolstering the dollar, and it seems to be a major factor (that is weighing on metals)."

Ultra-loose monetary policy adopted by central banks around the world in the past few years has drawn investors to commodities as an alternative to interest-bearing assets.

In China, leaders pledged to let markets play a decisive role in the economy as they unveiled a reform agenda for the next decade, looking to secure new drivers of future growth.

"In our view, 'reform' in a controlled economy like China's is code for tighter credit, higher interest rates, lower overall debt levels, a stronger currency, rising local energy prices and a trimming back of government support for state-owned enterprises," INTL FCStone said in a note.

China is the world's top copper consumer, accounting for around 40 percent of demand for the refined metal, which is used in power and construction.

Copper prices fell 1 percent last week, their biggest weekly fall since mid-September, but were still within a $7,000-7,420 band that has held since early August, weighed down by expectations of a growing surplus in the market.

Indicating better supply, BHP Billiton has offered treatment and refining charges of $80 per tonne and 8 cents a pound, respectively, to Chinese copper smelters for shipments of concentrates in 2014.

In other metals, benchmark aluminium was last bid down 0.50 percent at $1,800 a tonne, having earlier hit its lowest since late September at $1,798.50 a tonne.

Russia's United Company Rusal said it expected the global aluminium market to fall into a deficit of 280,000 tonnes this year due to production cuts as it posted a recurring net loss of $132 million in the three months ended September 2013.

Tin ended down 1.07 percent at $22,700 a tonne.

Several top-tier London Metal Exchange members, including JPMorgan Chase, are starting to look at whether they may join Indonesia's main commodities exchange, sources said, in a sign the new tin contract may eventually lure Western players.

Zinc ended down 0.53 percent at $1,885 a tonne, having earlier touched its lowest in about a month at $1,882 a tonne. Lead ended down 0.94 percent at $2,107 a tonne, having earlier touched its lowest in nearly a month at $2,101 a tonne.

Nickel ended down 0.87 percent at $13,630 a tonne, having earlier touched its lowest since early October at $13,606 a tonne.

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Three month LME tin

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.