Copper prices extended a recent slide as flaring geopolitical concerns and fears over a slowing Chinese economy weigh on demand for the widely used industrial metal.
Copper futures declined about 1 per cent on Tuesday to US$2.73 a pound and some of Canada’s biggest base-metals companies came under heavy selling pressure, with First Quantum Minerals Ltd., Hudbay Minerals Inc. and Lundin Mining Corp. falling 2.8 per cent, 2.9 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively.
Copper prices have been falling amid rising concerns that the trade dispute between the United States and China could slow the Chinese economy, a crucial market for the metal.
“There is certainly a heightened level of fear,” Christopher LaFemina, analyst with Jefferies LLC in New York, said in an interview.
Copper had a strong start to the year, hitting a 3½-year high of roughly US$3.30 a pound in January, driven in part by tightness on the supply side. Since April, global inventories of copper have been falling steadily, with demand outstripping supply. But investors nonetheless turned decidedly negative on the metal, with copper futures down some 16 per cent since June.
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