ECB Stimulus Pledge the Latest Challenge for Copper

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Copper futures declined this morning on the London Metal Exchange as the European Central Bank announced more stimulus and investors speculated demand is slowing from China. Copper for delivery in 3 months fell 1.5% to $5,685 a metric ton on the LME by 1:59 p.m. in London. The metal has declined 9.8% so far this month.

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A private manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index due Friday is forecast to show factory activity contracted for a second straight month in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer.

The greenback rallied as much as 0.7% against the euro, before paring some of the gain. ECB President Mario Draghi announced Thursday an expanded asset-purchase program of up to 60 billion euros ($69 billion) a month. Reports on Jan. 21 showed a proposal of 50 billion euros a month.

The copper 3-month price closed as the biggest mover for Wednesday, January 21. Switching from a downward trend, the metal closed at $5,735 per metric ton following a 1.6% increase. Also on the LME, the cash price of primary copper rose 1.6% to $5,760 per metric ton.

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Weakening prices followed two days of improvement as the cash price of primary Japanese copper dropped 0.3% to JPY 701,000 ($5,908) per metric ton. The price of US copper producer grade 122 showed little movement yesterday at $3.36 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 102 held steady on Wednesday, remaining around $3.55 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 110 held steady around $3.36 per pound.

Chinese copper prices were mixed for the day. The price of Chinese copper bar fell 0.2% to CNY 42,520 ($6,842) per metric ton. The Chinese copper cash price fell 0.2% to CNY 42,720 ($6,874) per metric ton. Chinese copper wire finished the day down 0.1% to CNY 41,720 ($6,713) per metric ton. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap showed little movement yesterday at CNY 37,000 ($5,954) per metric ton.

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