Copper Posts Longest Slump in Five Weeks as Dollar Advances

  • China trading closed for week-long holiday, reducing volumes
  • Nickel advances after sharp losses at the start of the week

Copper fell for a fourth day in the longest losing slump since August as the dollar rose on prospects for an increase in U.S. interest rates this year.

Industrial metals have retreated this week as a rise in the greenback made commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies. The dollar is gaining as bets mount that the Federal Reserve will boost rates in December.

“The U.S. dollar is strong, so that’s negative for copper,” said Helen Lau, an analyst at Argonaut Securities (Asia) Ltd. in Hong Kong. Investors are awaiting the monthly U.S. payrolls report on Friday to assess prospects of a rate increase this year, she said.

Copper for three-month delivery fell 0.9 percent to settle at $4,756 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, marking the longest streak of losses since Aug. 30.

A gauge of 18 global base metal producers fell 1 percent, paced by declines in Teck Resources Ltd. and Freeport-McMoRan Inc.

Metals are unlikely to see a rebound the next few days because markets in China, the biggest metals consumer, are shut for a week-long holiday, according to Malcolm Freeman, a director of Kingdom Futures Ltd. in London.

“The markets have hit a new level of inactivity in today’s Asian session, with near non-existent volumes,” he said in a note. “Prices, as a result of this background, look set to drift for the next two days on ever lower trading volumes.”

In other metals news:

  • A potential move by the Indonesian government to allow exports of low-grade nickel ore could deter foreign investments in the mineral-rich archipelago, according to the head of an industry group. The proposal has also split the country’s top nickel producers.
  • Nickel, lead, aluminum and tin advanced in London, while zinc declined.
  • Copper futures for December delivery fell on the Comex in New York.
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