Jan 27 (Reuters) – Benchmark base metals prices in London were mostly lower on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled a hike in interest rates as early as March, lifting the dollar, with copper retreating after two days of gains.
A U.S. interest rate hike could trim liquidity in financial markets and dampen prospects of economic recovery, while a firmer dollar makes greenback-priced metals more expensive to holders of other currencies.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 1.7% at $9,748 a tonne, as of 0718 GMT.
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In a news conference on Wednesday following a Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Fed chief Jerome Powell said “the committee is of a mind to raise the federal funds rate at the March meeting assuming that the conditions are appropriate for doing so”. read more
“Risk assets fell sharply in the wake of the FOMC meeting overnight with Fed Chair Powell sounding hawkish, even if he tried to be measured,” said National Australia Bank economist Tapas Strickland.
The most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended daytime trading 0.5% lower at 69,780 yuan ($10,989.67) a tonne, erasing early gains.
* The leader of an Andean community said on Wednesday that residents will block a controversial road used by MMG’s (1208.HK) Las Bambas mine to transport its metal starting on Thursday, a route that is a flashpoint of local protests.
* The U.S….