World Economy

Lead Near 6.5-Year Peak

Lead Near  6.5-Year PeakLead Near  6.5-Year Peak

Lead prices eased on profit-taking and a firmer dollar, having hit 6-1/2 year highs earlier in the session on Friday after Chinese mines shut for the winter, Reuters reported. Benchmark zinc on the London Metal Exchange hit $2,685 per ton, the strongest since July 29, 2011, before reversing. It was down 0.5% at $2,650.50. “It’s the time of year when Chinese mining of zinc and lead comes under a lot of pressure when Inner Mongolia shuts down for winter,” said Colin Hamilton, director of commodities research at BMO Capital Markets. “It’s clearly tightened up the concentrate side of the market and that’s feeding through into LME pricing.” Shortages of lead concentrate in China have become so severe that treatment charges—the fees that smelters charge to turn ore into metal—have skidded to zero or negative levels in some cases, he added. Metals were pressured by a firmer dollar index as the euro held near three-year highs since the eurozone’s economic revival and expectations of monetary tightening made the single currency more attractive.

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