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Copper falls on expectations of a sharp increase in US rates

Non-ferrous metallurgy
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Prospects for a significant increase in US interest rates

Copper falls on expectations of a sharp increase in US rates

Copper prices tumbled on Wednesday as bets on a massive U.S. rate hike following hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials and a recent series of weak economic data from China brought renewed concerns about global economic growth to the fore.

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Copper for July delivery fell 1.57% from Tuesday's settlement price to hit $4.17 a pound ($9,176 a tonne) on Wednesday afternoon in the Comex market in New York.

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The most active June contract for copper on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.1% to 71,600 yuan ($10,606.31) a tonne by noon.

"There is some selling pressure as China's economic data turned lower due to the forced lockdown in Shanghai," said Jigar Trivedi, a commodities analyst at Mumbai-based brokerage Anand Rathi Shares.

"In addition, the dollar is recovering after the Fed chairman's statement about the continuation of rate hikes."

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell vowed on Tuesday that the US central bank would raise interest rates as high as necessary to stem a spike in inflation that he says threatens the fundamentals of the economy.

The dollar rose 0.1% against its peers, making metals denominated in US dollars more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

Chinese Economy

Official data showed that new home prices in China fell in April for the first time on a monthly basis since December due to strict COVID-19 restrictions in many cities.

This comes after data showing economic activity in China fell sharply in April as lockdowns hit consumption, industrial production and employment hard.

Offering some breathing room, China's decision to ease some of the COVID-19 restrictions has heightened expectations for a recovery in metals demand.

Shanghai has had no new community infections for the fourth consecutive day, maintaining its prized "covid zero" status and keeping hopes of an early end to the lockdown-related suffering.

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