20 April 2006

Zambia: LME Copper Price Now Eyes Fresh Record High

Lusaka — THE London Metal Exchange (LME) copper price is now eyeing a fresh record high of US $7,000 per tonne.

And the price of copper for May delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday reached a record US $2,935 a pound.

In a move to catch up with other US and Asian markets after the long Easter weekend, LME three-month copper increased by a further five per cent on Friday to close at a new record high of US $6,495 a metric tonne.

According to information from the LME, the copper price surged on Tuesday as funds returned to the market in force following fresh highs in oil and gold over the Easter break.

Buoyant data on China's GDP growth further fuelled buoyant LME prices after first quarter statistics for China's GDP showed a stronger-than-expected growth of 10.2 per cent.

Copper has now increased to a record high, doubling its price from a year ago, on account of improved prospects for metals demand after economic growth accelerated in China, the world's biggest user. China's President Hu Jintao said on Monday that the economy grew 10.2 per cent in the first quarter up from 9.9 per cent in the fourth quarter and higher than every forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 25 economists. The median estimate was 9.6 per cent. Copper prices in Shanghai were up 81 per cent in the past year on demand for the metal in homes, cars and appliances.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper for May deliver rose 8.95 cents, or 3.2 per cent to US $2.905 a pound after earlier reaching a record US $2.935 a pound. Prices are up 42 per cent this year.

According to He Shisi, an official at the China Electrical Equipment Industry Association, demand for cables and wires in China would rise to 3.35 million tonnes by 2010 from an expected 2.45 million tonnes in 2006.

According to metalsplace.com, He said installation of power grids in the rural areas and power construction would boost demand for copper. The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top planner stated that last month power plants in China, the biggest electricity user after the US, were increasing capacity to supply the expanding economy.

Chinese copper demand might increase 8 per cent to 3.9 million tonnes this year exceeding production by 1.05 million tonnes, according to the government-affiliated China Non-ferrous Metals Industry Association.

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