March 24, 2020 / 4:38 AM / 7 days ago

METALS-Copper rebounds on Fed stimulus, supply concerns

(Updates prices)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, March 24 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose on Tuesday as investors cheered the U.S. Federal Reserve’s stimulus measures, while coronavirus containment measures in major mining countries raised supply concerns.

The Fed offered to buy unlimited amounts of assets to steady markets and expanded its mandate to corporate and municipal bonds, in a bid to backstop an economy reeling from emergency restrictions to fight the virus.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose 1.7% to $4,709.50 a tonne by 0717 GMT, and the most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) ended up 4.3% at 38,200 yuan ($5,400.67) a tonne.

“It’s helpful that the Fed stepped in to stop the credit market from exploding. This positive news is going to help cushion the fall in risk assets prior to the peaking of the (virus) infection rate,” said a base metal trader.

Containment measures in copper mining countries like Chile and Peru threatened ore supplies, while top listed producer Freeport-McMoRan Inc said it would slash output due to the epidemic.

Copper is seen as the gauge of global economic health, which has been dampened by the outbreak. LME copper has tumbled 24% so far this year, while ShFE copper was near its 11-year low on Monday.

“I’m surprised copper is down here. The lack of banks wanting to finance material is spooking commodity markets,” the trader said, adding $5,500 a tonne was a fair value for LME copper.

FUNDAMENTALS

* ALUMINIUM: LME three-month aluminium dipped 0.2% to $1,558.50 a tonne, while ShFE aluminium fell to a four-year low at 11,340 yuan a tonne, before rebounding to close up 0.5% at 11,435 yuan.

* SPREAD: The discount of LME cash aluminium over the three-month contract CMAL0-3 expanded to $34 a tonne, a level unseen since May 2019, indicating abundant nearby supplies.

* NICKEL: The global nickel market surplus widened to 13,100 tonnes in January from a surplus of 5,200 tonnes in the previous month.

* PRICES: LME nickel rose 2.1% to $11,105 a tonne, tin advanced 3.2% to $13,670 a tonne, and ShFE tin jumped 6% to 113,990 yuan a tonne.

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PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

ARBS ($1 = 7.0732 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Subhranshu Sahu)

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