Copper, nickel prices drop on gains in inventories
by Elaine Frei
Most base metals prices were lower again on Thursday, with investors still worried that demand will continue to deteriorate as inventories of some metals were up again.
March copper was down less than a cent to $1.54 per pound at noon in New York but had pulled back from bigger declines earlier on new data showing that US retail sales were up by 1 percent in January.
Meanwhile, three-month copper dropped $39 to $3,420 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange as inventories in LME warehouses added 225 tonnes during the session to 516,675 tonnes.
Stockpiles of copper kept in LME warehouses have added 52 percent since the beginning of the year.
In afternoon trade in London, three-month nickel had dropped $198 to $10,207 per tonne as LME inventories were up 576 tonnes to 88,728 tonnes, their highest level in over thirteen years.
Aluminium was also lower, falling $21 to $1,380 per tonne after gains earlier in the session, as inventories remained at record highs at 2.9 million tonnes.
Among other base metals, lead was $27 lower to $1,143 per tonne and zinc was down $28.75 to $1,143.25 per tonne, but tin added $295 to $11,195 per tonne after inventories dropped by 50 tonnes during the session.
Precious metals prices were mixed in New York in early afternoon trade as April gold added $4 to $948.50 per troy ounce and April platinum had gained $2.30 to $1,083 per troy ounce but March silver was 4.5 cents lower to $13.47 per troy ounce.
Gold reached $952 per troy ounce earlier in the session, its highest price since July 22, as investors saw it as a safe haven in troubled economic times.
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