Archive image of the cathode manufacturing process at a Codelco copper smelter plant in Ventanas, Chile. January 7, 2015. REUTERS / Rodrigo Garrido
LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Prices of copper and other industrial metals fell on Monday, fearing that the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus could complicate the global economic recovery.
* The variant has so far been recorded in at least 89 countries, although the severity of the disease it causes remains unclear. The Netherlands imposed restrictions to curb its spread, raising concerns that other countries will follow suit and slow down economic activity.
* Copper, widely used in infrastructure, is considered an indicator of global economic health. At 1212 GMT, benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 0.42% at $ 9,398 a tonne.
* “There is growing concern about the increase in cases of the omicron variant, especially in Europe,” said Wenyu Yao, an analyst at ING, adding that more closures could hurt demand for metals.
* In other base metals, aluminum on the LME was down 1.7% at $ 2,676 per ton; zinc was down 1.1% at $ 3,349; lead was down 0.4% at $ 2,299; tin was up 0.1% at $ 38,360; and nickel was down 1.9% at $ 19,286.
* To view base metal futures prices:
(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; additional reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)