Copper sees sharpest quarterly plunge since 2011

Large coppers coils are cut into lengths to start the process of manufacturing a bullet at Barnes Bullets in Mona, Utah, January 6, 2016. REUTERS/George Frey

LONDON, June 30 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Thursday to log their biggest quarterly slump since 2011 as COVID lockdowns in China and slowing economic growth curtailed demand.

Other industrial metals were also headed for their worst quarter in several years, down between 20% and 40%.

Many analysts fear further declines in the near term, as central banks push ahead with rapid interest rate hikes that will stifle growth. read more

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"We still see metals falling as a recession in the U.S. is fully priced in," said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann. read more

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell 1.6% to $8,265.50 a tonne as of 1604 GMT, down around 20.3% since the start of April.

Copper fell 19.8% in the first quarter of 2020 as COVID-19 spread worldwide, which was its biggest quarterly drop since 2011.

Briesemann said copper could slip to as low as $7,000-$7,500 in the third quarter, but prices should rise towards the year-end.

MARKETS: Global stock markets have suffered the worst first half of a year on record. read more

DOLLAR: The dollar is set for its biggest quarterly gain since 2016, making metals priced in the currency costlier for non-U.S. buyers.

CHINA: Chinese factory activity rose slightly in June after three months of contraction caused by COVID lockdowns. read more

JAPAN: Japan's manufacturing output saw its biggest monthly drop in two years in May. read more

NICKEL: The LME said it was examining sanctions imposed by Britain on Vladimir Potanin, chief executive of Nornickel (GMKN.MM), the world's largest refined nickel producer. read more

PRICES: LME aluminium was down 1% at $2,445.50 a tonne and down 30% in Q2; zinc fell 6.1% to $3,155 and was 24% lower in Q2; nickel slipped 4.3% to $22,745 and was down 29% in Q2; lead was 0.4% lower at $1,925.50 and has fallen 20% in Q2; tin was down 2% at $26,250 and has plunged 39% in Q2.

The quarterly declines for all five metals were the biggest in at least a decade.

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Reporting by Peter Hobson, Additional reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli, Devika Syamnath and Vinay Dwivedi

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