Mining companies in Congo and Zambia are diverting shipments of copper from South African ports to other ports around Africa, with the Dar es Salaam port located on Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast being the most popular new destination. It follows the country’s implementation of strict lockdown measures due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Reuters reported that copper exports through the Dar es Salaam port are up around 20-25%.
The commodities industry in China, where the coronavirus was first detected, is reportedly picking up and is expected to return to normality as the country has now reported zero new deaths for the first time since January. As estimated by Bloomberg Economics, most of China was 90%-95% back to work at the end of last week.
Gold prices have witnessed a fall as risk sentiment saw an improvement on wider market optimism following tentative progress signs against Covid-19 in some countries. Reuters reported that spot gold, which lost as much as 1%, declined by 0.4% down to $1,654.83 an ounce.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange has declined 0.1% at $5,036 a tonne as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit demand. However, suspensions of mining operations in Africa and Latin America are offering some support to the metal.
Mopani Copper Mines, the Zambian unit of Glencore, is set to close its mines for three months citing the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company, in which Glencore owns a 75% stake, is also closing the mines due to declines in the copper price.