As December quickly approaches and we prepare for the crazy run into the Christmas season, metal prices remain reasonably steady although a fall in the Australian dollar has allowed us to review some prices this week. With many major manufacturing and trading companies due to report at the end of the year, we expect physical demand to drop away in the coming weeks.

**** DJ LME Copper Settles Flat; Oil Slump Weighed Against Firm Equities ****

By Francesca Freeman

LONDON–Copper futures were little changed at the close of London Metal Exchange trade Monday as traders weighed rising stock markets against a slump in the price of oil. Stock markets rose after a breakthrough accord between Iran and six world powers was reached Sunday. The deal will see Iran freeze its nuclear efforts and hand over Tehran’s stockpile of near-weapons grade nuclear fuel. In exchange, Western powers will ease economic sanctions that U.S. officials estimate will provide between $6 billion and $7 billion in foreign exchange for Tehran over the next six months. Copper futures failed to get much lift, however, as oil prices tumbled on expectations of increased global production. While base metal prices tend to rise when hopes for global economic growth are raised, they can also move in tandem with other commodities, reflecting the tendency of some investors to trade commodities as a basket.”We had a strong rally Thursday and Friday, led by copper, and it looks like it could be running out of steam,” said Stephen Briggs, a senior metals strategist at BNP Paribas. A strong U.S. dollar also capped copper prices, said analysts. Base metals are priced in dollars, making them more expensive in other denominations when the greenback gains. Base metals trade is likely to be thin this week as the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday approaches on Thursday. ”Aside from some position squaring activity, the back end of this week is likely to be pretty quiet,” said Standard Bank analyst Leon Westgate.

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