22 Jan 2009

Copper, aluminium prices plunge

10:10 am on 22 January 2009

Aluminium prices slumped on Wednesday and copper fell by almost 5% due to rising stockpiles and big cut backs at the world's biggest miner.

BHP Billiton is to close its giant Ravensthorpe nickel mine in West Australia, writing off $US1.6 billion, because of a collapse in commodity prices.

Aluminium for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange dropped to $US1330 a tonne - its lowest price since April 2003. It closed at $US1335 a tonne, down from $US1400 on Tuesday.

Aluminium inventories are now more than 2.64 million tonnes.

Copper followed suit, with prices for three-month delivery slipping to a low of $US3190 per tonne as inventories rose to 417,475 tonnes.

Copper closed at $US3215, compared to $US3,342 on Tuesday.

Other industrial metals are also down. Nickel fell 6% to $US10,905 per tonne, versus $US11,550 on Tuesday.

Leadclosed at $US1087, down from $US1165. Zinc was down 8% at $US1150 from $US1250, and tin was $US11,600, up from $US11,300.