Copper prices traded back towards $5,700 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange on Tuesday March 10, as gains made at the start of the week were erased in an overnight sell-off.

Three-month copper settled at $5,755/56 per tonne in the official session, down from an opening price of $5,854.50 and $5,770/70.50 a day earlier.

Copper was sold off in the overnight session as the dollar rose and equities traded lower on Asian bourses, pushing the contract to an intraday low of $5,728.50 per tonne.

“Just when it was starting to look like there’s a bit of life in the market, the Chinese came in and sold it,” a category I broker told Metal Bulletin.

The selling came as the dollar hit fresh multi-year highs against the euro and the yen on Tuesday following a stronger-than-expected US jobs report, which stoked speculation that the Federal Reserve may soon raise interest rates.

“The dollar’s so strong at the moment that it’s inhibiting trading in all commodities: gold, copper, oil, you name it. Equities are a little higher now, but all the Asian exchanges finished showing red,” he said.

Copper stocks in LME-approved warehouses totalled 328,450 tonnes, up a net 2,400 tonnes after deliveries into Antwerp and Johor.

Three-month lead settled at $1,808/8.50 per tonne, down from $1,816/18 a day earlier and near an intraday low of $1,802.

“Volume-wise, lead has been doing OK, but it’s never been a metal to set the world on fire. From a fundamental perspective it looks well supported in terms of poor scrap availability and strong car sales, but there’s just no investment interest in it,” the broker said.

Lead stocks totalled 213,325 tonnes, down 800 tonnes after deliveries out of Johor and Rotterdam. 

Three-month aluminium settled at $1,761/62 per tonne, down 0.5% from official prices a day earlier and below an opening price of $1,785 per tonne.

Aluminium stocks stood at 3,917,975 tonnes, up a net 1,850 tonnes as small outflows from several ports were offset by an 8,550-tonne delivery into Vlissingen.

Mark Burton
Twitter: @mburtonmb