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Geopolitical Uncertainty Looms Over Copper Market

May 8, 2018 at 16:38 by Andrew Moran

Copper futures tumbled more than 1% on Tuesday, falling to their lowest levels in a month as geopolitical uncertainty looms over the industrial metal market. Traders are looking ahead to President Donald Trump’s announcement on the nuclear deal with Iran and its possible impact on the US dollar and international markets.

July copper futures plunged $0.025, or 0.81%, to $3.0545 per pound at 16:18 GMT on Tuesday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Copper prices, which initially rose in Asian markets, are slipping to their worst points since the beginning of April.

Year-to-date, the industrial metal is down more than 8%.

On Tuesday, President Trump will confirm if the US government is either staying or exiting the Iran nuclear agreement, a pact signed by former President Barack Obama in 2015. Should the US leave the deal, it could send shockwaves to the global economy and multiple markets, which would weigh down demand for copper.

An announcement to scrap the deal may also affect the recent rally in the greenback. The US dollar is strengthening as the currency surged 0.29% to 93.04. Despite a slow start to 2018, the greenback has climbed nearly 4% over the last month. A soaring buck is bad for commodities priced in dollars because it makes more expensive for foreign investors to purchase.

Chinese demand is still playing an important role in copper’s performance. Last week, China released impressive macroeconomic reports, including the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index that edged lower in April, but it remained in expansionary territory. China, the world’s largest consumer of the red metal, increased its imports by 6% in March.

As The Wall Street Journal reported:

The bears are in control.

Other metal commodities were mixed on Tuesday. June gold futures were flat at $1,314.10 per ounce. July silver futures dipped $0.015, or 0.09%, to $16.48 an ounce. July platinum futures were unchanged at $913.30 an ounce. July palladium futures jumped $1.40, or 0.15%, to $963.50 per ounce.

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