Copper hammers above $6,000 on Trump, China

LONDON -  Base metal prices soared this week, with copper forging above $6,000 per tonne as Donald Trump's election victory sparked hopes of booming demand to meet the president-elect's pledge on infrastructure spending.

Industrial metals also scored multi-year and multi-month peaks on hopes of resurgent demand from top global consumer China.

Copper, used in plumbing, heating, electrical and telecommunications wiring, peaked Friday at $6,025.50 -- the highest price for almost one and a half years.

Republican Trump's shock defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's US presidential election gave markets a jolt as the result was announced early Wednesday.

"Although the prices of industrial commodities initially plunged ... on the news of Donald Trump's victory, sentiment reversed very quickly as the president-elect Trump made a conciliatory acceptance speech," said Capital Economics analyst Caroline Bain.

"Indeed, the prices of a number of metals, notably copper, subsequently rose on hopes of fiscal stimulus and infrastructure spending."

Trump's announced economic policies have included spending big on infrastructure projects, tax cuts, and protectionist moves on trade.

However, other analysts argued that China was playing a bigger role in the trajectory of base metal prices.

"The assumption that Trump will somehow boost demand for industrial metals sounds quite strange," analyst Fawad Razaqzada told AFP.

"After all, base metals -- copper in particular -- had been rallying days before the US elections.

"Copper's rally must therefore be due to hopes that the Chinese demand is recovering or expectations of a tighter market, which appears more likely in my view."

Liberum analyst Richard Knights agreed with the diagnosis.

"Putting (Trump's infrastructure plans) in terms of copper consumption is tough, but even at the most bullish end of consumption growth estimates, it does not really move the needle compared to China," he noted.

Prices began Monday in rude health on predictions of bullish demand at LME Week, an industry event hosted last week by the London Metal Exchange.

"There was a cautiously upbeat tone to LME Week this year, which has been reflected in base metal prices rallying strongly," wrote UniCredit analysts.

"The main takeaways ... were perhaps 1) the realisation that China appears to be turning a corner and 2) the acceptance that the bear market for metals that started in 2011 is over."

Elsewhere, base metal lead jumped to $2,198 per tonne, its best level for more than one year.

Zinc surged to a five-year high at $2,580, while nickel hit a 16-month peak at $22,000.

Tin hit $22,000 on Monday, a pinnacle last scaled 15 months ago.

For its part, gold leapt to a one-month high on Wednesday as investors flocked to the safe-haven metal on uncertainty surrounding a Trump presidency.

However, the precious metal then sank on the growing prospect of rising US interest rates, hitting a five-month low on Friday.

Heading into the weekend, copper dived on Friday as investors took a breather.

"Copper unwound gains ... to turn lower on the day, but still had its best week ever," noted CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler.

By Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months stood at $5,912.50 a tonne from $4,982 a week earlier.

Three-month aluminium rose to $1,778.50 a tonne from $1,724.

Three-month lead gained to $2,162.50 a tonne from $2,093.

Three-month tin advanced to $21,555 a tonne from $21,185.

Three-month nickel increased to $11,775 a tonne from $10,495.

Three-month zinc climbed to $2,537.50 a tonne from $2,460.

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