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Base metals stand their ground in sell-off storm

By Michael Bellart (Global Times)

09:12, May 16, 2012

Chinese commodity futures stabilized yesterday, much in the same way a patient with multiple stab wounds stabilizes in an emergency room - although the hemorrhaging may have stopped, the underlying injuries are still in dire need of attention.

On the whole, domestic commodities were mixed, though some sectors took significant losses as anemic US growth, disappointing Chinese economic data and the open wound that is the eurozone economy continued to roil the global financial markets.

Copper, a commodity which is often considered a bellwether of global economic growth, escaped with a modest 0.55 percent drop yesterday on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE). The most traded August contract closed at 55,950 yuan ($8,855.39) per ton after opening down 1.17 percent from Monday's closing price.

Base metals held up well yesterday even as the commodities sell-off continued over Monday in the EU and US. The benchmark three-month copper contract on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell 0.61 percent overnight. It was trading at $7,841.80 per ton when the Chinese mainland markets closed yesterday, up 0.21 percent for the day.

Back in China, the most traded contracts for gold, silver, steel rebar, cotton, wheat and some petrochemicals fell by more than 1 percent.

Domestic petrochemical commodities have fallen sharply along with the plunge in crude oil prices this month. NYMEX West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil for June delivery leaked another 1.58 percent Monday after the Chinese mainland markets closed. The contract steadied yesterday, down 0.17 percent at $94.62 per barrel at the close of trading on the mainland.

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