This Morning in Metals: Copper prices ease after peak; Chile sees mixed copper output; Vale targets more iron ore, safety

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Metal Prices
Copper price

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After peaking Tuesday, copper prices eased up Wednesday as profit-taking was spurred by a higher dollar, demand in China and upbeat news about COVID-19 vaccines, Reuters said.

LME copper fell to $7,623/mt Wednesday after hitting $7,743/mt Tuesday, the highest since March 2013 and a gain of nearly 25% this year, Reuters reports.

“Funds are taking profits, the vaccine news seems to be priced in, and the dollar’s downtrend seems to have stalled,” a copper trader told Reuters. “But China is looking good growth-wise, and demand is unlikely to disappoint.”

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Mixed copper output in Chile

Chile reports that the global leader in copper output, Codelco, increased its copper production for October but that private multinational producers (BHP and Collahuasi, a joint-venture between Anglo American and Glencore) saw a decrease that month, Reuters said.

Vale seeks more iron ore output, more safety spending

Brazilian miner Vale missed its goal of iron ore production this year, and in a financial filing, it said that it plans to increase capital spending to address issues including dam safety, Reuters reports.

Vale said it produced 300 million to 305 million tons of iron ore this year — just below a 2020 target of 310 million tons. It said 2021 production is expected to produce 315 million to 335 million tons.

Reuters said a financial statement from Vale detailed more spending on capital projects, with the budget rising from $4.2 billion this year to average $5.5 billion for each of the next few years. Vale suffered a fatal dam collapse in 2019 and has plans to shore up its infrastructure, Reuters said.

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