Copper Pares Quarterly Loss as Chile Port Strikes Boost Concern
Copper advanced, paring a second quarterly decline, as strikes at Chilean ports raised concern that supplies may be disrupted from the largest producer of the metal used in pipes and wires.
Copper for delivery in three months rose as much as 0.7 percent to $7,656.25 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, and was at $7,618 at 10:24 a.m. in Shanghai. The metal, which hasn’t dropped over consecutive quarters since 2008, has lost 4 percent this year after a 3.3 percent fall in the period to December.
Workers at Antofagasta and Iquique ports in northern Chile went on strike in solidarity with a stoppage at Angamos, the main northern harbor for Codelco, the world’s largest producing company. Codelco is seeking other ports to export cathode.
“The strikes offer some temporary support,” Zhang Tianfeng, an analyst at Dongxing Futures Co., said from Shanghai. “Looking forward, how the crisis in Cyprus unfolds will provide clues in terms of whether copper can stand firm at this level.”
Banks in Cyprus, which averted a default this week after an international bailout, will open their doors to customers today for the first time in almost two weeks, with new capital controls in effect.
Copper has dropped this quarter even amid signs that growth is recovering the U.S. as stockpiles tracked by the LME have surged. Holdings reached 567,900 tons yesterday, 77 percent higher since December, and the highest level since 2003.
Copper for July delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange traded little changed at 55,610 yuan ($8,948) a ton, while the May contract on the Comex gained 0.2 percent to $3.4485 a pound.
On the LME, aluminum, lead and zinc climbed after falling to the lowest levels since November yesterday, while nickel declined.
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