Shanghai copper edged lower in thin trading on Monday, with the London and U.S. markets closed for a long weekend, and as a stronger greenback and weakening Chinese demand push prices lower towards their weakest monthly level since November.
The US dollar reached a one-month high against the Japanese yen early on Monday and was broadly stronger against other rivals after the statements of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen encouraged the prospect of a near-term interest rate hike.
The Fed should increase interest rates "in the coming months" if economic growth recovers and the labor market continues to become healthier, Yellen stated on Friday.
The upward trend of the greenback as an interest rate hike nears has weighed on the prices of commodities that have become more expensive for holders of other currencies.
In a research note, BofA Merrill Lynch pointed out that bearish pressures are also increasing as the seasonal copper demand of China retreats.
"Chinas physical copper market is extremely weak as the countrys imports were running well ahead of consumption year to date. As rebalancing unfolds, we remain cautious on copper, but we see upside in 2H on tight scrap and slow global supply growth," stated in the research note.
Shanghai Futures Exchange copper plunged by 0.5 percent to 35,700 yuan ($5,425) per tonne by 0704 GMT. Moreover, the prices of the red metal were set for a 4.6 percent loss for the month of May—the worst weekly performance in half a year.
The London Metal Exchange was closed today. LME copper ended the session on Friday higher by 2.6 percent for the week, cutting Mays losses to 7 percent.
"Base metal prices jumped higher following the promise of action from G7 leaders to support global economic growth," stated ANZ in a note.
Diplomats assert that the European Commission and China may be close to striking a deal to avoid a dispute at the World Trade Organization and a wider trade war, but must convince EU lawmakers that are angry over the record steel production of China.