Metals: Copper Edges Lower Amid Drop in Oil

By Ira Iosebashvili and David Hodari Features Dow Jones Newswires

Copper prices shuffled between gains and losses Tuesday, as investors weighed a drop in oil against a weaker dollar.

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Copper for July delivery was recently unchanged at $2.5655 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices dipped as low as $2.5455 a pound earlier in the session.

U.S. crude was down 1% at $49.30 a barrel. Big swings in oil prices tend to sway copper, as many investors trade the two commodities in a single basket, with a bigger share devoted to oil.

At the same time, copper prices received a boost from the weaker dollar. Copper is denominated in the U.S. currency and becomes less expensive to foreign investors when the dollar declines.

Also weighing on copper prices were comments from China's largest copper smelter that the building of new smelting capacity will allow China to attain self-sufficiency in refined copper in the next few years, according to a Commerzbank note. Jiangxi Copper Co. said that the annual addition of 250,000 tons to China's smelting capacity over the next few years will allow the country to end imports.

Looking ahead, investors were focused on Chinese purchasing managers index data, due out Wednesday. China is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for some 45% of global demand.

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Gold for August delivery was down 0.5% at $1,265.30 a troy ounce. Political strife in the U.S. and upcoming elections in the U.K. have stoked demand for the safe haven metal, pushing prices to a nearly one-month high last week.

"There remains sufficient nervousness in the financial markets to suggest that gold should be bought on dips," said Peter Hug, global trading director at Kitco Metals.

Write to Ira Iosebashvili at ira.iosebashvili@wsj.com

Copper prices edged lower Tuesday, weighed down by a drop in the price of oil.

Copper for July delivery closed down 0.1% at $2.5640 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

U.S. crude closed down 0.3% at $49.66 a barrel. Swings in oil prices tend to sway copper, as many investors trade the two commodities in a single basket, with a bigger share devoted to oil.

Also weighing on copper prices were comments from China's largest copper smelter that the building of new smelting capacity will allow China to attain self-sufficiency in refined copper in the next few years, according to a Commerzbank note. Jiangxi Copper Co. said that the annual addition of 250,000 tons to China's smelting capacity over the next few years will allow the country to end imports.

Looking ahead, investors were focused on Chinese purchasing managers index data, due out Wednesday. China is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for some 45% of global demand.

At the same time, copper prices received a boost Tuesday from the weaker dollar. Copper is denominated in the U.S. currency and becomes less expensive to foreign investors when the dollar declines.

Gold for August delivery was down 0.5% at $1,265.70 a troy ounce. Political strife in the U.S. and upcoming elections in the U.K. have stoked demand for the safe haven metal, pushing prices to a nearly one-month high last week.

"There remains sufficient nervousness in the financial markets to suggest that gold should be bought on dips," said Peter Hug, global trading director at Kitco Metals, in a note to clients.

Write to Ira Iosebashvili at ira.iosebashvili@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 30, 2017 16:52 ET (20:52 GMT)