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Copper Prices Surge to 7-Month High Amid Chinese Production Cut Plans

The copper market witnessed a remarkable surge as prices soared to a seven-month peak. This surge was primarily fueled by China’s strategic decision to reduce output.

Copper Prices Reach New Heights

The benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) skyrocketed to $8,799 per metric ton, marking its highest level since August 1, 2023. At 1055 GMT, it was trading 1.6% higher at $8,790.

The momentum for this rise initiated from the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE), where copper achieved a two-year pinnacle of 70,460 yuan ($9,796) per ton.

China’s Production Cut Agreement

In a significant development, China’s major copper smelters convened in Beijing, reaching a consensus on implementing a symbolic reduction in production, particularly focusing on loss-making operations. However, the specifics regarding the extent and timing of this cut remained undisclosed.

The announcement spurred immediate reactions in the market. A trader highlighted, “It’s a knee-jerk response to rush in. Interest spiked on SHFE right after the announcement of China’s production cut. Who will admit they are the first to turn unprofitable?”

Impact of Shortages and Future Projections

Persistent shortages in copper concentrates have intensified competition among smelters, resulting in a substantial decline in their income, reaching decade-low levels. Despite this, projections suggest that approximately 1.7 million tons per year of new smelter projects outside China are slated to commence operations in the latter half of the year. Analysts anticipate this influx to exert additional pressure on the global concentrate supply.

Data from satellite surveillance revealed that more global copper smelters remained inactive in the initial two months of the year compared to the corresponding period last year, primarily due to reduced activity in China.

However, the surge in copper prices might potentially dampen demand in China, the leading consumer, as evidenced by rising inventories. Copper inventory in warehouses monitored by SHFE surged sharply to 239,245 tonnes by March 8 from 30,905 tonnes at the beginning of the year.

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Insights from Market Indicators

Clarity regarding demand prospects is anticipated with the release of China’s loan data scheduled for the upcoming week. This data, including total social financing numbers, serves as a crucial gauge for future metals consumption.

While copper dominated the market spotlight, other metals witnessed mixed trends. LME aluminum experienced a slight decline of 0.3% to $2,258.5 per ton, nickel eased by 1.4% to $18,295, zinc climbed by 0.3% to $2,567.5, lead edged up by 0.8% to $2,162, while tin rose by 0.3% to $27,595.

In conclusion, the surge in copper prices driven by Chinese production cut plans has significantly impacted the global metal market landscape. As stakeholders await further developments, close monitoring of market indicators remains imperative for informed decision-making.

Allen

Allen holds a Master's degree in English Literature and boasts seven years of experience as a content writer. Specializing in Entertainment, Sports, and the latest news, he excels in crafting compelling narratives that captivate audiences. Allen's expertise in language and storytelling ensures that his content is both informative and engaging.

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