By Ed Ballard

LONDON--Copper prices continued to climb Thursday as the dollar declined in the wake of U.S. Federal Reserve commentary, supporting commodity prices.

The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract edged up 0.2% at $5,536.50 a metric ton in morning trade. Other base metals also gained.

Analysts said commodities were benefiting from a weaker dollar, which makes dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies. The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the buck against 16 other currencies, was recently down 0.25% at 92.77.

Minutes from the Fed's Dec. 13-14 meeting gave mixed signals about the prospects for the world's largest economy.

Officials expect a pickup in economic growth and inflation--supporting the view that demand for industrial metals will rise--but also noted uncertainty about the potential impact of Donald Trump's policies.

Looking ahead to events that tilt the market's expectations for the course of U.S. interest-rate hikes, Friday brings the first U.S. non-payroll figures of 2017.

Analysts at Société Générale said there could be volatile trading in futures markets between Jan. 9 and 15, when funds tracking the two main commodity indexes--the S&P GSCI and BCOM--carry out their annual portfolio reweighting to reflect price-changes over the past year.

In base metals, the biggest impact will be in zinc. After surging over 57% last year the metal now accounts for a much larger share of the value of index funds, which will now reduce their exposure.

Aluminium was up 0.6% at $1,698 a ton, lead up 0.02% at $2,079.50 a ton, nickel up 0.7% at $10,290 a ton, tin up 0.1% at $21,170 a ton and zinc up 0.3% at $2,638 a ton.

Write to Ed Ballard at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 05, 2017 06:32 ET (11:32 GMT)

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