Copper prices closed nearly flat on Wednesday as investors weighed the latest moves in the trade battle between the U.S. and China.
Copper futures for December delivery settled down 0.04% at $2.7295 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold for December delivery climbed 0.45% to $1,208.30 a troy ounce in New York.
A weaker dollar helped boost metals prices earlier in the day. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the currency against a basket of 16 others, was last down 0.2%. A weaker dollar makes greenback-denominated commodities less expensive for holders of other currencies.
An employee winds copper wires as he builds part of an electric engine by French car maker Renault in Cléon, France, in 2015. Photo: philippe wojazer/Reuters
The Chinese government said Tuesday it plans to impose new tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. exports, following President Trump’s Monday announcement of new import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese goods.
But on Wednesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang defended the rules-based global trading system and, in a nod to China’s trade tensions with the U.S., said problems should be resolved through consultations, not unilateral action.
“Whilst we are naturally cautious as to whether this price action represents a sea change and wary given recent intraday volatility, we are of the opinion these metals have further upside potential,” said Alastair Munro of brokerage Marex Spectron.
Copper prices were also supported by signs of a tighter market. Copper inventories in London Metal Exchange-registered warehouses dropped 20,000 metric tons over the past week, taking the total inventory withdrawal to more than 80,000 in the third quarter so far, according to ING Bank.
—Stephanie Yang contributed to this article.
Write to Georgi Kantchev at [email protected]