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Copper Tries to Rebound After Steep Losses on Chinese Tariffs

May 14, 2019 at 17:33 by Andrew Moran

Copper futures are trying to rebound after posting steep losses on Monday after China announced a series of retaliatory tariffs on US goods. The industrial metal may be rising on Tuesday on what analysts say is bargain buying as global supplies tighten.

July copper futures rose $0.0055, or 0.20%, to $2.725 per pound at 16:51 GMT on Tuesday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Copper is now trading at its lowest level since January. Despite sliding 7% since March, the red metal is still up nearly 3% so far this year. But copper prices are down 14.5% over the last 12 months.

To kick off the trading week, the Chinese government confirmed that it was imposing $60 billion in retaliatory tariffs on more than 5,000 US goods, ranging from 5% to 25%. This prompted the administration to threaten levies on $325 billion worth of Chinese imports, which has left many analysts expecting Beijing to retaliate to the retaliation.

Experts agree that the trade war will impact both economies, which could be both good and bad news for copper prices.

Since China is the world’s biggest market for copper, a slumping national economy would equate to less of a demand. This has already affected the price of the red metal. At the same time, this would contribute to tightening global supplies.

Prior to the latest escalation in the US-China trade war, the industry had anticipated a global deficit with supplies tightening and production falling to multi-year levels amid a lack of new investments. Now that Beijing might acquire fewer amounts of copper moving forward, it could widen the deficit.

Copper’s gains were capped on a stronger US dollar as the greenback advanced 0.14% to 97.48. A stronger buck is bad for commodities priced in dollars because it makes it more expensive for foreign investors to purchase.

In other metal markets, June gold futures tumbled $5.50, or 0.42%, to $1,296.30 an ounce. July silver futures rose $0.04, or 0.28%, to $14.815 per ounce. July platinum futures tacked on $3.10, or 0.36%, to $858.00 an ounce. July palladium futures soared $15.00, or 1.14%, to $1,331.80 an ounce.

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