Benchmark London copper edged up in Asian hours on Wednesday, after three straight sessions of losses, but trading was confined to a narrow range ahead of the keenly awaited minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent meeting.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.1% at $8,331.50 a tonne, as of 0338 GMT.
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On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, however, the most-traded February copper contract ended morning trade down 1.3% at 64,830 yuan ($9,392.79) a tonne.
A surge of COVID-19 infections in top metals consumer China and looming weak growth in the United States and Europe have clouded demand prospects for metals.
Caution prevailed ahead of minutes from the Fed’s Dec. 13-14 policy meeting, due at 1900 GMT, as investors sought clues on future interest rate moves.
In China, analysts said near-term metal prices were likely to remain volatile as the Spring Festival holidays later this month were expected to curb demand, but the anticipation of more economic stimulus from Beijing could provide support.
Among other metals, LME aluminum was flat at $2,311 a tonne, zinc dipped 0.9% to $2,976.50, lead declined 0.6% to $2,265.50, and tin dropped 0.7% to $25,300.
In Shanghai, aluminum dropped 2.4% to 17,890 yuan a tonne, zinc shed 0.6% to 23,270 yuan, tin was nearly flat at 208,160 yuan, and lead fell 0.7% to 15,790 yuan.
Shanghai nickel climbed 1.6% to 230,730 yuan a tonne following LME nickel’s strong overnight gains on expectations that a large short position maturing in January would have to be bought back, according to traders.
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($1 = 6.9021 yuan) (Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)