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Spot copper markets 'frozen' as prices slip

Keywords: Tags  LME, copper, copper cathode, copper premium, copper prices, LME, Comex, warehouse stocks Suzy Waite

NEW YORK — The copper spot market ground to a halt during the week ended March 1 as traders continued to favor delivering metal into warehouses amid weak consumer demand and lower prices.
Three-month copper closed the London Metal Exchange’s official session at $7,665 per tonne March 1, down 3 percent from $7,890 per tonne Feb. 25. Similarly, the May Comex contract closed at $3.501 per pound, down from $3.561 per pound in the same comparison.
Spot copper markets are now “frozen” as players “wait until the bottom is established before they enter the market again. ... We’re very much in pause mode,” a consumer said.
“The fact it’s winter and the market being down doesn’t help things either. People will just sit on it,” a trader agreed.
Market participants had expected spot copper business to pick up after Chinese buyers returned from the New Year’s holiday in February. This hasn’t happened, sources said.
“The expectation was that the Chinese would come back into the market with fury. That didn’t happen,” the consumer said.
“I’m still wondering why there’s no action from them,” a second trader said.
Consumers appear to have enough inventory for the next month, which means the spot market will likely remain dormant throughout March, sources said.
Global stocks have risen 43 percent from the start of the year, with LME-listed warehouses storing 458,775 tonnes at the close of business Feb. 28 compared with 320,500 tonnes Jan. 2. Copper stocks in New Orleans have risen 71 percent to 129,200 tonnes from 75,775 tonnes in the same comparison.
AMM’s spot copper premiums were steady at 4.5 and 5.5 cents per pound March 1.

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