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Some metal pricing slumps as China reduces investment

Market graph trending downward.

A number of metals are trending down after record and near-record pricing in recent months. | BEST BACKGROUNDS/Shutterstock

Copper and other battery inputs have fallen in price over the last month, a shift tied to China’s COVID-19 recovery.

China in 2020 injected $500 billion in state investment into its economy, The Wall Street Journal reported this week, and that stimulus grew imports of numerous commodities. Metals used in battery production, such as cobalt and copper, saw sharp increases in their imports into China.

That buying activity contributed to wild price movement throughout 2020 and into this year, a period that brought record and near-record pricing for some industrial metals such as copper, as well as precious metals such as gold and silver.

But the Chinese government has shifted its approach in recent weeks, moving away from massive spending and focusing on other areas of its COVID-19 recovery, The Wall Street Journal reported. And with that pullback came sharp decreases in imports.

“Amid fresh concern that some battery-making metals could be globally oversupplied, benchmark metals fell in March from records a month earlier – nickel by 18%, cobalt 13% and copper 9%,” the newspaper reported.

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