Copper set for weekly gain on China recovery hopes

LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Copper was set to end the week higher on Friday after robust data from China offered more evidence the world’s second biggest economy is recovering, even though moves by Chinese authorities to tame speculation made some cautious. Producer prices in China, the world’s top metals consumer, rose at the fastest pace in more than five years in November as prices of coal, steel and other building materials soared. The stronger-than-expected 3.3 percent surge in prices, along with upbeat factory readings from China, the United States and Europe, added to views that the global economy may be slowly reflating thanks to a pickup in industrial activity. copper rally Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was last bid up 0.7 percent at $5,823 a tonne in official midday rings and was on course to end the week 1.2 percent higher. “Metals have moved into a higher trading range and are likely to stay there but copper in particular has overshot. Things are fundamentally better but I don’t know if they’re $6,000 a tonne better,” said Citi analyst David Wilson. “I think we’re going to see some pullback into the year end or early next year on Chinese authorities trying to stamp out retail speculation in commodities.” The Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) will limit trading positions and raise transaction fees for investors in its hot-rolled coil steel contract, the latest step to curb soaring prices. Elsewhere bullish signals for copper prevailed. ShFE copper inventories fell 2.5 percent from last Friday, while LME copper stocks fell to their lowest since mid-August. Also, China’s imports grew at the fastest pace in more than two years in November, fuelled by a strong thirst for commodities, and exports also rose unexpectedly. “It is this China reflation story, coupled with next week’s Fed meet which drives the bullishness of some. Of course, the whipsaw action will encourage some risk reduction and we see pockets of that from our CTA client base,” said Marex Spectron in a note. The euro was back under pressure on Friday after an extension of the European Central Bank’s money-printing programme drove its biggest daily loss against the dollar since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Analysts said signs the ECB would continue with monetary support for as long as needed combined with the promise of fiscal stimulus in the United States was boosting global markets. Zinc was last bid up 1.4 percent in rings at $2,727, while nickel traded up 2.5 percent at $11,380. Nickel has been supported by prospects of falling ore exports from the Philippines, the top exporter to China, due to seasonal weather patterns and a clamp down on polluting mines. Philippines authorities have said there will “definitely” be more mine suspensions when a ruling on the 20 facing suspension is released. Aluminium hit a weekly high of $1,746.50 and traded up 0.8 percent in rings at $1,737.50. “Aluminium outperformed the entire complex yesterday. The bearish rhetoric around Chinese capacity restarts (has been) consigned to the back burner,” said Marex Spectron. Tin was 0.5 percent higher at $21,025 while lead traded at $2,315, an increase of 1.4 percent.

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