SINGAPORE Dec 6 Investment bank JP Morgan Chase holds between 50 and 80 percent of the 350,000 tonnes of copper held in London Metal Exchange warehouses, the UK's Telegraph newspaper reported, citing a source close to the situation.
The report said that the amount was closer to the "lower portion of the between 50%/80% range" disclosed by the LME.
A JP Morgan official declined to comment.
According to the article JP Morgan's name had been circulating the market all Thursday as the most likely buyer, especially since it is about to launch a physically-backed exchange-traded fund in copper. [ID:nL3E6N30A6]
But traders questioned by Reuters asked why the bank would be willing to pay a premium for cash metal -- currently at around $50 a tonne MCU0-3 -- when they could buy longer dated material at a discount.
"I don't believe the ETF will launch that quickly. It makes no sense to launch this year -- I'd wait until after the Chinese New Year. These are smart guys. They have it all planned out and will have timed their buys so contracts come due when they want to launch," a trader in Hong Kong said.
(Reporting by Nick Trevethan; editing by Ed Lane)