Investing.com - Copper prices fell sharply on Wednesday, hitting one-year lows amid a wider selloff in industrial metals sparked by fears that a second round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports could hit demand for metals, particularly if Chinese growth is affected.
Copper futures for September delivery were down 2.98% to $2.753 a pound by 04:51 AM ET (08:51 AM GMT) after falling as low as $2.717 overnight, the weakest since July 19, 2017.
Prices of the industrial metal fell after the U.S. said it is likely to soon place tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, escalating a trade spat between Washington and Beijing.
U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. was acting because China had not heeded previous warnings to halt unfair trade practices.
News of the additional tariffs pushed fears of a trade war back into focus just days after the U.S. imposed 25% tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports, and Beijing retaliated with matching tariffs on the same amount of U.S. imports.
The tit-for-tat tariffs have fueled worries that the world’s two largest economies could descend into an all-out trade war, which investors fear could hit global growth.
Prices for copper, which is widely used in manufacturing and construction, are down 6.44% for the month and have fallen almost 16% so far this year as investors focused on trade threats.
Meanwhile, zinc futures were down 2.13% to trade at $2,569.75, pulling back from an overnight low of $2,503.00, which was the weakest level since mid-June, 2017.
Nickel futures were down 3.25% to near 10-week lows of $13,712.50, while aluminum futures shed 0.97% to trade near three month lows at $2,067.00.
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