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Copper retreats from 2-week high as China factory activity slows

Copper prices slipped from a two-week high on Wednesday after data signaled tepid factory activity in China, stoking trader concerns over demand in the world’s biggest consuming market.

Copper is widely used in manufacturing and China accounts for around half of global copper consumption.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 1.3% at $9,392 a tonne, as of 0736 GMT, while the most-traded October copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange declined 1.8% to 68,900 yuan ($10,659.86) a tonne.

In the previous session, both contracts had scaled their highest levels since Aug. 16.

China’s factory activity contracted in August for the first time in nearly 1-1/2 years as COVID-19 containment measures, supply bottlenecks and high raw material prices weighed on output.

Manufacturing activity in August in other Asian major economies of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan expanded at a slower rate on chip shortages and factory shutdowns.

“Copper eased … after China’s Caixin manufacturing data fell,” commodities broker Anna Stablum of Marex Spectron said in a note.

“The fierce buying from China seen when prices traded around and below $9,000 has dried up as the arbitrage has mainly closed and stock draws have contracted,” she said.

The Yangshan copper premium fell to $99 a tonne, its lowest since Aug. 18, indicating weakening demand to import the metal into China.


* LME nickel eased 0.1% to $19,525 a tonne and ShFE nickel closed almost unchanged at 148,250 yuan a tonne, hovering near a record high hit in the previous session of 149,870 yuan a tonne.

* LME aluminum dipped 0.6% to $2,702.50 a tonne, tin rose 0.3% to $34,000 yuan a tonne and lead rose 0.2% to $2,261.50 a tonne.

* ShFE aluminum was down 1.2% to 21,075 yuan a tonne, lead fell 1.1% to 14,900 yuan a tonne and zinc decreased 1.1% to 22,165 yuan a tonne.
Source: Retuers (Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Uttaresh.V, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Barbara Lewis)

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