Copper heads for first weekly rise in 5 weeks
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.7% at $6,029 a tonne at 1141 GMT, and up 0.6% this week
London: Copper on Friday posted its first weekly gain in five weeks as a rebound on global equity markets revived interest in riskier assets and a weaker dollar made metal cheaper for buyers with other currencies.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.7% at $6,029 a tonne at 1141 GMT, and up 0.6% this week.
Still, concerns over slowing economic growth in China, the biggest metals consumer, have left copper down 17% over the year as a whole.
“We have a weaker dollar and equities rebounding, and that’s likely lifting metals,” said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.
But weaker Chinese demand for copper meant prices would likely remain around current levels through next year, he added.
China economy: China’s manufacturing sector is expected to have contracted for the first time in more than two years in December, a poll found.
Data this week showed earnings at Chinese industrial firms in November dropped for the first time in nearly three years.
US-China trade: China and the United States plan face-to-face consultations on trade in January, the Chinese commerce ministry said. Worries that trade tariffs will curtail demand for metals have dragged prices lower this year.
Dollar: The dollar has weakened from its recent 18-month high against a basket of major rivals, easing pressure on metal prices.
Index rebalancing: A rebalancing of asset allocations by benchmark indexes in early January will see significant buying of aluminium, zinc and Comex copper, analysts at Citi said in a note.
China TC/RCs: China’s top copper smelters raised their floor treatment and refining charges for the first quarter of 2019 by 2.2%, sources said. Higher charges indicate a well-supplied copper concentrate market.
Chile copper: Chilean miner Collahuasi - which produced an estimated 545,000 tonnes of copper this year - has applied for an environmental permit to extend the life of its deposit with an estimated $3.2 billion investment.
Aluminium: LME aluminium was up 0.3% at $1,857.50 a tonne but down 2.7% this week - the biggest weekly loss since October - after Russian producer Rusal agreed a deal to remove it from a US sanctions list and appointed at new chairman.
Aluminium spread: Cash aluminium flipped from a discount to a $14 a tonne premium over the three-month contract, likely signalling greater availability of nearby supplies.
Other metals: LME zinc was up 0.3% at $2,502.50 a tonne, nickel was down 0.8% at $10,685, lead 1.1% higher at $2,051.50 and tin up 0.6% to $19,410.
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