The Latest Problem for Copper? Chinese Economic Data

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Poor Chinese economic data, igniting more concerns about slowing growth in the world’s biggest consumer of it, was the latest problem for price-battered copper, the Job of commodity-traded metals in 2014, over the last few days.

Forbes reported that trade figures released by China’s Customs Department on Saturday showed that Chinese exports slumped by 18.1% in February, when the market was expecting an increase of around 7.5%. In addition, imports rose more than expected. This resulted in a trade deficit of $23 billion against a surplus of $32 billion in January. The data underlined the market’s doubts that China won’t be able to meet its GDP growth target of 7.5% in 2014.

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The cash price of Japanese copper saw the biggest upwards shift for the day, rising 0.6 percent to close at JPY 715,000 ($7,013) per metric ton on Wednesday, April 9. The price of US copper producer grade 110 increased 0.3 percent to $3.77 per pound. At $3.77, the price of US copper producer grade 122 finished the market day up 0.3 percent per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 102 inched up 0.3 percent to $3.96 per pound.

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Chinese copper prices were mixed for the day. At CNY 47,580 ($7,678), the price of Chinese copper wire finished the market day up 0.4 percent per metric ton. The price of Chinese copper bar showed little movement yesterday at CNY 48,420 ($7,814) per metric ton. The cash price of Chinese copper saw little price change on Wednesday at CNY 48,620 ($7,846) per metric ton. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap saw little movement at CNY 44,300 ($7,149) per metric ton.

On the LME, the 3-month price of copper held steady around $6,680 per metric ton. The cash price of primary copper remained essentially flat on the LME at $6,677 per metric ton.

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