Copper rises on nascent optimism over outlook for China economy

2nd April 2024 By: Bloomberg

Copper advanced to the highest level in more than a week as investors weighed upbeat factory data from top consumer China and the potential for output cuts by the country’s leading smelters.

Investors are becoming more optimistic about the world’s second-largest economy after the official manufacturing purchasing managers index in March registered the highest reading in a year, the latest green shoot alongside strong exports and rising consumer prices. A factory gauge in the US also unexpectedly halted 16 straight months of decline.

“The economic data is aiding market sentiment, signaling a recovery in manufacturing industry,” Galaxy Futures wrote in a note, adding it supports consumption of raw materials like copper which is facing supply-side fears. China’s smelters, which produce over half the world’s refined copper, are considering output cuts after processing fees fell to near zero.

Still, the solid US factory data reinforced speculation that the Federal Reserve will be slow to cut interest rates, which could weigh on the outlook for commodities. Bond traders have priced in less easing by the Fed this year and briefly set the odds of a first move in June below 50%.

Copper climbed 1% to $8 956 a ton on the London Metal Exchange by 11:41 a.m. Singapore time. Nickel rose 0.8% to $16 875 a ton, while aluminum held near the highest level in three months.