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Weekly Round-Up: Copper Rises on Record China Imports

Gold prices broke their winning streak this week, dropping roughly 1.79 percent to hit $1,234.70 per ounce as of 12:39 p.m. EST. The yellow metal hit its best quarter in decades two weeks ago and performed well last week as well.

Despite an overall drop this week, gold prices took back some ground on Friday on the back of a weaker US dollar, according to the Wall Street Journal. Gold is priced in US dollars, and thus becomes cheaper for foreign buyers when the US dollar is lower.

Bargain hunting may have played a role as well, since, as Jim Wyckoff of Kitco Markets stated in a note to clients, gold prices saw their biggest two-day decline in two months. This is a “bargain-hunting bounce from the strong selling pressure seen the past two days,” he was quoted as stating in the Journal.

For its part, the silver price continued to rise last week, gaining 2.45 percent to trade around $16.45 per ounce by Friday. According to DailyFX, the fact that silver has started to outpace gold is good news for the precious metals complex, but could be bad news for the US dollar.

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On the base metals side, copper prices saw a significant jump on news that China’s copper imports had hit a record high in March. Prices for the red metal rose 3.27 percent this week to $2.18 per pound.

According to Reuters, imports of copper into China rose to 570,000 tonnes in the month of March, up 35.7 percent over February and up 39 percent year-on-year. Still, traders within China warned that domestic demand growth is still slowing.

Zhou Jie, a trade manager at China International Futures in Shanghai, told the news agency that imports were boosted by favorable price differentials between Chinese prices and LME copper prices.

Finally, oil prices saw another slide this week on fresh doubts that the world’s major oil producers would work to put a damper on oversupply. As per Reuters, the world’s top oil exporters will meet in Doha this Sunday to look at freezing output levels.

“Unless there’s a total surprise, the likelihood is that the Doha meeting on Sunday between OPEC/non OPEC will produce something very wishy washy and will be nothing more than smoke and mirrors,” one trader told the news agency. “I therefore want to sell crude today.”

Brent crude futures were down $1.02 at $42.82 by 11:26 a.m. EST, while US crude was down $1.17, trading at $40.33.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 

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