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Falling metal stocks could shield prices from omicron impact – report


By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
DWINDLING copper, zinc and nickel stocks could shield prices from the impact of the new Covid-19 variant called Omicron, according to a new report from Capital Economics.


This is after copper, zinc and nickel prices bounced back from Friday’s omicron-induced drubbing on Monday as worries about global stocks return.


A new report from Capital Economics reaffirms the independent researcher’s recent argument that metal prices would weaken markedly going into 2022 as China’s economy slows.


The report however indicated that it was too soon to tell whether the new variant would add further pressure.


“Moreover, while a new set of virus-related government restrictions would dampen demand, Capital Economics points out that supply could also be disrupted and any negative impact on prices “may be tempered” particularly at a time when stocks are at historically low levels,” the report stated.


The copper price rose on Monday, recouping some of last week’s losses fueled by the newly identified coronavirus variant, with markets trying to gauge its severity and its possible impact on economic recovery.


Copper for delivery in March gained two percent on the Comex market in New York, touching US$4.38 per pound (US$9,636 per tonne) in midday trade before paring some of the gains.
Copper stocks in London Metal Exchange (LME) registered warehouses declined to just over 80,000 tonnes, according to Reuters, and are about a third of level registered in late August.


Cancelled warrants – metal earmarked for delivery – indicates another 15,350 tonnes is heading out.


LME aluminium advanced 1.4 percent at US$2,650, lead was up 2.2 percent to US$2,318, tin gained 1.6 percent to US$39,280 and nickel jumped 1.4 percent to US$20,185.

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