Botswana Blocks Copper Exports from Congo After Ebola Outbreak

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Botswana’s authorities have blocked the transit of copper exports from the Democratic Republic of Congo after an outbreak of Ebola in the continent’s top copper producer, the latest African nation to adopt measures to prevent the deadly virus from breaching its borders.

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Scores of trucks carrying copper and cobalt exports from Congo’s land-locked Katanga province have not been allowed to cross into Botswana since August 25, the same day Kinshasa confirmed its first case of the Ebola virus since 2008, Zambian and Botswana officials told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. The blockade is affecting shipments from Freeport-McMoRan and Glencore.

Although the strain of Ebola virus in Congo is not the same as the strains that have ravaged West Africa in recent months, the latest outbreak of the disease has triggered fears in the region, prompting countries to heighten control measures across their border

The day’s biggest mover was the cash price of primary copper which dropped by 0.6 percent on Thursday, August 28 to close at $7,050 per metric ton on the LME. Thursday saw the 3-month price of copper drift down 0.6 percent on the LME to $7,029 per metric ton after a couple of stagnant days.

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The cash price of primary Japanese copper declined 0.4 percent to JPY 768,000 ($7,393) per metric ton. The price of US copper producer grade 122 saw a 0.3 percent decline to $3.88 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 110 fell 0.3 percent to $3.88 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 102 declined 0.2 percent to $4.07 per pound.

Chinese copper closed mixed on Thursday. The price of Chinese copper bar declined 0.3 percent to CNY 51,550 ($8,366) per metric ton. The Chinese copper cash price weakened by 0.3 percent, settling at CNY 51,750 ($8,398) per metric ton. The price of Chinese copper wire held steady at CNY 50,395 ($8,178) per metric ton. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap continues hovering around CNY 44,300 ($7,189) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

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