Metals: Copper Prices Fall, Ending Four-Day Rally

By David Hodari Features Dow Jones Newswires

The price of copper dropped slightly Wednesday, with the base metal falling into neutral territory after four days of inventory-driven gains.

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Copper prices were down 0.23% at $5,701.00 a ton in midmorning trade in London.

The price of gold increased 0.20% to $1,266.20 a troy ounce, appearing to have priced in a decrease in risk sentiment after centrist French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron progressed to the country's run-off vote, last Sunday.

Copper's slip came after the London Metals Exchange reported falls in on-warrant stocks on four consecutive days. That had allowed the metal to rally from its April 19 three-month lows and was a sign that traders were once again looking to pick up copper, FastMarkets's William Adams said.

The base metal still held onto most of its new-found gains despite Wednesday's slight decline, Mr. Adams said.

Elsewhere, Zambia added to fears of an over-stocked global copper market. The country announced that it expects copper output to jump 10% to record levels this year, according to Investec.

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Mining giant BHP Billiton (BHP.AU) lowered its copper output target, following strikes at its Chilean Escondida mine. That said, that reduced output target had no impact on the company's overall earnings forecast, Investec said.

Gold traders were focusing on U.S. President Donald Trump's long-awaited tax policy announcement, with plans to slash the corporate tax rate to 15% already teased in advance.

Fears that tax cuts would punch another hole in deficit-reduction efforts may weaken the dollar and push up the price of gold, FastMarkets' Mr. Adams said.

Increased gold imports in China and India proved bullish for the precious metal, Commerzbank said in its morning note. China imported 111.6 tons of gold on a net basis from Hong Kong in March--an increase of 56% on last March and the highest net gold import figure in 10 months, Commerzbank said.

Among precious metals, silver was flat at $17.60 a troy ounce, platinum was down 0.13% at $953.85 a troy ounce, and palladium rose 0.04% to $803.50 a troy ounce.

Among base metals, aluminum was up 0.28% at $1,956.00 a metric ton, lead fell 0.28% to $2,163.00 a metric ton, zinc rose 0.15% to $2,609.00 a metric ton, tin gained 0.44% to $19,620.00 a metric ton and nickel dropped 0.27% to $9,275.00.

-Write to David Hodari at david.hodari@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 26, 2017 06:29 ET (10:29 GMT)